Mitt Romney, whose wife is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, is staunchly opposed to ESC research and is sticking to his position. Supposedly it was this issue that brought him see the light on other life issues. I have not been one to criticize Romney’s pro-life conversion because I knew about his position on ESC research a few years ago. Cal Thomas interviewed the then-Governor about his position back in February of 2005:
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney has infuriated Harvard scientists by declaring his opposition to stem cell research on embryos created for this purpose. “Some of the practices that Harvard and probably other institutions in Massachusetts are engaged in cross the line of ethical conduct,” Romney told The New York Times.
In a telephone conversation, Romney told me he thinks the Harvard scientists have “pulled a bait and switch.” At first, he says, they agreed that enough stem cells could be obtained from discarded embryos at fertilization clinics, which did not present an ethical problem to him because such embryos would be destroyed anyway. But the scientists are now lobbying for creating and cloning embryos simply for experimental purposes. This he opposes.
The radically “pro-choice” New York Times, which rarely credits any pro-lifer with standing on principle, suggests Romney may be taking this position to curry favor with social conservatives so he might pursue higher office.
It is difficult to take such cynicism seriously when one considers that Romney’s wife, Ann, suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that backers of stem cell research claim might be cured if they are permitted to do whatever they wish to embryos. That the Romneys would put their principles ahead of self-interest is rare in politics.
Romney says he has been told by medical and scientific authorities that sufficient stem cells exist or can be obtained from fertility clinics and other sources to avoid therapeutic cloning and the destruction of embryos created specifically for this type of research. “Creating human life for research and human experimentation is ethically wrong,” he told me.
(The rest of the article, Stemming Stem Cell Research, is really fabulous and worth reading.)
I think it is clear that his position on ESC research is genuine, which leads me to believe that his pro-life conversion might be too.