[Mitt Romney] has described himself as a supporter of embryonic stem cell research since he ran for governor in 2002, and, as recently as last month, he said he would support the Legislature's efforts to promote such research in Massachusetts. But in a letter he sent to Senate President Robert E. Travaglini yesterday, Romney said that, "respect for human life is a fundamental element of civilized society" and that "lofty goals do not justify the creation of life for experimentation and destruction."
Travaglini's aides were privately incensed yesterday because they said Romney did not alert them to his plans to announce his position and appeared to upstage Travaglini. The governor's remarks surfaced the day after Travaglini filed his own stem cell bill, which would give the state's endorsement to more types of stem cell research than Romney's approach.
Romney said that although he supports the use of embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, which might be discarded anyway, he opposes the creation of embryos by cloning. Travaglini filed a bill Wednesday that would allow both, but would ban the creation of cloned human babies. President Bush has barred the use of federal money to create any new batches of human embryonic stem cells, restricting researchers to the use of existing stem cell lines.