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Tipsheet

Massachusetts Democrat Faces Calls to Step Down After Suggesting Disabled Children Be Aborted

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

A Democrat official in Massachusetts is facing backlash and being pressured to step down after he reportedly complained about the cost of special education for children with disabilities who are not aborted. 

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The official, Michael Hugo, is chair of the Framingham Democratic Committee, according to Fox News. At a recent city council meeting, Hugo reportedly claimed that pro-life pregnancy centers misdiagnose defects in babies before they are born. As a result, babies with disabilities end up being born and become a burden on school budgets.

In a video of the meeting obtained by Fox, Hugo said: “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."

Members of his party slammed his remarks, with one claiming Hugo “went off the rails.”

“I’m a lifetime member of the Democratic Committee, and the person who wanted to represent us went off the rails in a different direction that had never been brought before the committee," Patrick Dunne, who is also a former School Committee and Town Meeting member, said, according to MetroWest Daily News. “We are not talking about eliminating special ed students, we are talking about getting out good information to the people in Framingham, and he is casting a net a bit too wide for me.” 

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City Council member Adam Steiner said that he was "disappointed and saddened" by the remarks, according to Daily Mail.

"Unfortunately, there has been a long history of arguments in our town/city pitting the needs of particular students against the financial constraints of the Framingham budget," Steiner wrote. "In the context of reproductive freedom and abortion rights, making this connection was totally unacceptable and disturbing."

And, Fox News reported that Hugo sent a letter to city council members hours before making his remarks. In the preview of his remarks, Hugo reportedly asked if the state would “cover the medical costs for a fetus that had a sound medical reason to be terminated.”

After 10 days of backlash and calls to resign from members of his party and parents of special needs children, Hugo issued an apology. 

"I am writing to offer my most sincere and humble apology to members of the Framingham Democratic Committee, but more especially my fellow members of Framingham's disability family community, for comments that I made at the last City Council meeting which were offensive and hurtful," he reportedly wrote. 

Laura Green, a disability advocate from Framingham, told Fox News that she felt like his apology was “generic and lackluster.” 

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“I feel like after a statement like that is made, you can’t just pretend that it didn't happen or take it back because it's damaging to a community of people," she said. "The disability community is the only minority group that you can become a part of at any time." 

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, told Fox News that “this is discrimination plain and simple.” 

"I think people who say that the sick cost too much for our society better find the fountain of youth real quick because someday that’s going to be them, it's going to be their family members,” Hawkins said. Her two children have cystic fibrosis. 

"This is eugenics, this is eugenics in 2023 America, this is an argument that sadly we’ve heard before and throughout American history, just regurgitated using a bunch of fancy lingo or support for abortion," Hawkins added.

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