Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s decision to oppose stem cell research using embryos created for that purpose is a courageous stand for a politician in the most liberal of states. What is most impressive about Romney’s decision, however, is that he has surprised the political establishment by elevating the ethics of life above personal and family interests.
That should cause all of us to take a closer look at the Massachusetts governor as the presidential derby 2008 begins.
Proponents of a bill that would allow creating embryos for the purpose of conducting “assumed they would have the backing of Mr. Romney, a Republican whose wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that could potentially be helped by the research. Mr. Romney had previously said he supported stem cell research in general, but had not elaborated.
But in an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Romney said that he was strongly against a type of embryonic stem cell research that many scientists consider extremely promising: research that involves creating human embryos specifically for scientific experimentation.”
Mitt Romney said:
“My wife has M.S., and we would love for there to be a cure for her disease and for the diseases of others. But there is an ethical boundary that should not be crossed.. . .creation for the purpose of destruction is wrong.”
Romney’s position runs counter to the actions that many other states are considering. After California’s decision last year to invest $3 billion in embryonic stem cell research, at least seven other states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are considering steps to encourage researchers in the field or provide economic incentives.
He is not totally opposed to embryonic stell cell research, however. He favors the use of embryos that are left over from in-vitro fertilization “if the couples who created the embryos gave written permission, were not paid, and were offered the options of rejecting research in favor of storing the embryos or giving them up for adoption.”