A notable Massachusetts Democrat is under fire after arguing that abortion should be legal so preborn babies with disabilities can be aborted — because otherwise, they’ll be a drain on local school systems.
Michael Hugo, chairman of the Framingham Democratic Committee, spoke at a city council meeting in favor of a proclamation protecting abortion within the city. During his remarks, he criticized pregnancy resource centers, and expressed concern that the community would be burdened if women are unable to kill preborn children with “defects.”
“Our fear is that if an unqualified sonographer misdiagnoses a heart defect, an organ defect, spina bifida, or an encephalopathic defect, that becomes a very local issue, because our school budget will have to absorb the cost of a child in special education, supplying lots and lots of special services to children, who were born with the defect,” he said. “So it’s our hope that the Council tonight will pass this ordinance, and by doing so perhaps one of the businesses that might be looking at coming to Framingham, will look at Framingham and decide, well, we better just keep driving and look for a different town or a different city.”
Hugo’s comments were immediately criticized.
Priscilla Sousa, who chairs the Framingham School Committee, told NBC 10, “I was absolutely mortified to hear that somebody would speak in such a manner. I almost felt an ache in my heart when I heard somebody could see our children as a burden.”
Another parent responded in a letter to the editor for the Framingham Source.
“With his statement and email to our City Council, Mr. Hugo effectively told every student who receives special services in our school system that their cost to the system outweighs their benefit to society,” they wrote. “The message he sent to every struggling student in our schools is horrendous. Our special education student population is already wrestling with enough challenges after living through a worldwide pandemic during their formative years without the chair of our city’s Democratic committee publicly stating that they cost taxpayers too much money and implying they shouldn’t exist.”
Even more surprising is the news that Hugo himself has children with special needs — yet he appears to stand behind the meaning of his words. “It has nothing to do with a burden, I was just saying it is an expense,” he said. “I really, really regret making the comments. Those comments do not reflect who I am as a person or as a parent to a special needs child.”
Framingham City Council Chair Phil Ottaviani Jr. recently released a statement condemning Hugo’s remarks. “Our special education community should be celebrated, and not spoken of as a burden to our municipal budget,” he said. “These comments are unacceptable and have no place here in the Blumer Room or in the City of Framingham. As I always tell my daughter Julia, ‘being kind is a choice.’ In Framingham we need more kindness in our thoughts and actions.”
According to Politico, Framingham Democrats are now calling on Hugo to resign.
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