Friday, September 01, 2006

Stem Cell Research Regulation Controversy

Last year, the legislature passed c.27 of 2005, An Act Enhancing Regenerative Medicine in the Commowealth, over the Governor’s veto. This law says, in part:
  • Section 8 (b) No person shall knowingly create an embryo by the method of fertilization with the sole intent of donating the embryo for research.

This week, the Public Health Council passed 105 CMR 960, a regulation ostensibly under that law, which some feel has the effect of altering the scope of the law. The section in question says:

  • 960.005 (A) No person shall knowingly create embryos or pre-implantation embryos by the method of fertilization with the sole intent of using the embryo for research.

According to the Boston Globe, “The rules adopted Tuesday by the state Public Health Council generated widespread concern among scientists who expressed concern that the regulations could subject them to criminal penalties for certain activities used in human embryonic stem cell research.” Researchers are concerned that the change from the word “donating” in the law to “using” in the regulation limits their ability to conduct research, and opens them up to criminal liability under the law.

For more information on the controversy, see Kaiser Network’s Massachusetts Council's New Regulations on Embryonic Stem Cell Research Spark Controversy Among State Legislators.
For more on Stem Cell Research, see Mass. Law About Stem Cell Research.