FNC FOX News Sunday -Transcript
May 22, 2005
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
WALLACE: For another side of this issue, we turn now to Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts, which is involved in its own debate about stem cell research. And he joins us from Boston.
Governor, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY, R-MA: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: You are in the middle of this debate, not on one extreme or the other. And let's talk first of all about the fact that you support the idea of using these embryos that are left over in fertility clinics and that would otherwise simply be thrown away.
Now, you heard, as I'm sure Mr. Esiason did, the president says that's destroying life in order to save life.
ROMNEY: Well, I believe that stem cell research has enormous potential to help cure disease. We certainly have that deep hope, and I think every family, including Boomer Esiason's, will be touched by a crippling disease at one point or another.
And, therefore, we look with great longing for these cures to come from stem cell research. That's why the president supports it. I support it as well.
But I think every civilized society has to draw a line where it says you're crossing an ethical barrier. And if you cross that line, you cease from being the kind of society you've been in the past.
And that's something which the president has drawn in one place. I draw it in a very similar place.
I think we're looking for is to make sure that we can do the stem cell research that needs to be done and hopefully find cures but not taking ourselves into a place where we feel uncomfortable ethically.
And I certainly believe that in cases like South Korea, where they're beginning to do human embryo cloning, they have moved into an area that is unethical.
And the president spoke out against that, and I salute the president for that.
WALLACE: But if I may ask you, governor, specifically, you don't see, as I understand it, the use of these leftover embryos in fertility clinics as destroying life?
ROMNEY: That's right. I believe that when a couple gets together and decides that they want to bring a child into the Earth, and they go to a fertility clinic to do so, and if they're going to be through that process a leftover embryo or two, that they should be able to decide whether to preserve that embryo for future use or to destroy it; to have it put up for adoption or potentially to be used for research and experimentation, hopefully leading to the cure of disease.
And so for me, that's where the line is drawn. Those surplus embryos from fertility clinics can be used for research.
But when we say we're moving into embryo farming, creating new life solely to experiment upon it and then destroy it, I believe we've gone across a very, very bright ethical line.
And that's what's happening in South Korea, and here in Massachusetts, the legislature has authorized literally taking donated sperm, donated eggs, putting them together in petri dishes and growing embryos.
And that kind of embryo farming, whether it's done through those donations or through cloning, I think is ethically wrong.
WALLACE: What do you say to Boomer Esiason and to others who say, you're cutting off an avenue of research that might mean life or death for their loved one?
ROMNEY: Well, I feel very much like Boomer Esiason does.
Each of our families, my own included, is touched by very serious disease. My wife's brother actual gave a lobe of his lung to a child who had cystic fibrosis. He did it as a donation.
We care very deeply about these things, as a society and as a family.
At the same time, we recognize that a society has to draw boundaries of ethical conduct. And the respect of human life is one of the primary foundations of an ethical society. And so that's something we do.
I also believe, by the way, that science is entirely capable of carrying on stem cell research in an ethical manner.
ROMNEY: Professor Hurlbut at Stanford University and others are pursuing a number of different courses that allow one to create these embryo-like stem cells from embryo-like entities without actually creating human embryos.
So, there's a scientific pathway to accomplishing what lead to the cure of disease.
WALLACE: Governor, as we discussed with Boomer Esiason, this is also a political issue. You were thought to at least entertain thoughts about running for president in 2008.
As I say, you're kind of in the middle here, because you are against some research, but you're for other research.
Isn't your support for using these left-over embryos from fertility clinics, isn't that going to hurt you with some conservatives?
ROMNEY: You know, I think fundamentally people look at this issue on a very personal basis. My family's been touched by a very serious disease, as has Boomer Esiason's. I think at the same time we look at ethical issues, and say, "Where is the line to be drawn?"
For me and my family, it's very clear. If you're creating new life, simply to destroy it, you've gone across a bright red ethical boundary, and we shouldn't go there.
If, on the other hand, embryos are going to be destroyed following a fertilization process, that's something which shouldn't be done without the parent of that particular embryo being able to be brought into the decision. And if they want to give that embryo to science for the potential cure of disease, that that's a positive thing.
And I can't imagine politics or ambition for anyone would stand in the way with doing what they think is right for the family of humankind on an issue like this.
WALLACE: Governor Romney, it's a difficult issue. Thank you so much for coming in today and giving us your thoughts about it.
ROMNEY: Thank you.