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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday he will push to reverse stem cell research restrictions imposed by his predecessor, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

The changes last August prompted complaints from researchers who said they could be prohibited from using some embryonic stem cells. They also argued the restrictions undercut a 2005 law that had been approved by the Legislature over Romney's veto.

Patrick told a meeting of the Life Sciences Collaborative on Friday that he would ask the Public Health Council, which approved the changes, to revisit the policy. In effect, Patrick will be able to reverse the policy, since he will gain control over the panel next week amid an overhaul linked to the state's new health insurance law.

"I believe that life sciences should be guided by science, not politics," Patrick told the roundtable of biotechnology officials.

The governor said researchers should not have to compete globally "under a regulatory cloud, or to do so with one-hand tied behind their back."

He said he hoped the council would create a hospitable regulatory climate "and then get out of the way so that you can do what you were trained to do, and so that your imagination and creativity can have the full range of its potential."

Embryonic stem cells have the capacity to become any cell in the body, and scientists are eager to expand their research with them to treat a variety of diseases, from Alzheimer's to diabetes. Patrick noted that his mother-in-law suffers from both, while his late mother had lupus.

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