A Massachusetts Democrat is facing calls to resign after he caused outrage by suggesting disabled children should have been aborted to save on the city’s school budget.
Michael Hugo, chairman of the Framingham Democratic Committee, made the shocking proposal during a city council meeting earlier this month.
She questioned whether these centers misdiagnose women who have disabled children, since informing them may convince them to abort.
‘Our fear is that if an unskilled stenographer misdiagnoses a heart defect, organ defect, spina bifida or encephalopathic defect, that becomes a very local problem, because our school budget would have to absorb the cost of the child into our budget. special education,’ he said.
In a letter sent before the meeting that previewed his comments, he asked if Massachusetts would “cover medical costs for a fetus that had a sound medical reason to terminate.”
He then went on to ask whether the state would ‘cover the costs of special education for a child affected by Down syndrome’ or ‘pay the extraordinary medical expenses of a child with (serious heart disease)’, implying that he thought that fetuses found to have either condition should have been terminated.
Michael Hugo, pictured, faces calls to resign after suggesting disabled children should be aborted to save money in the school budget.
The outlandish comments were made at a Framingham, Massachusetts City Council meeting on February 7.
The official’s comments angered his local constituents, and he now faces fierce protests outside City Hall and calls for his withdrawal.
Hugo made the outlandish comments during a city council meeting on February 7, where he lashed out at crisis pregnancy centers during a debate over abortion policy.
Crisis pregnancy centers are facilities that claim to offer legitimate abortion services, but are actually intended to discourage pregnant women from using the health care clinics.
Hugo, who is director of policy and government relations for the Massachusetts Health Association Board, also argued whether the city should have to “pay for the extraordinary medical expenses of a child with an atrial septal defect.”
His comments sparked fury in the local community, with a member of Hugo’s own party speaking shortly afterwards at the meeting, criticizing his colleague for ‘going off the rails’.
“I am absolutely appalled by what I just heard from our president and linking the whole issue to special needs costs for our school,” added Cheryl Tully-Stoll, also a member of the Framingham Democratic Caucus and former city councilwoman.
City Councilor Adam Steiner said he was “disappointed and saddened” by the comments.
“Unfortunately, there has been a long history of arguments in our town/city pitting the needs of individual students against the financial constraints of Framingham’s budget,” Steiner wrote on Facebook.
“In the context of reproductive freedom and abortion rights, making this connection was totally unacceptable and disturbing.”
Hugo issued a public apology 10 days after the council meeting, with the embattled Democrat calling his own comments “offensive and hurtful.”
But local residents remain outraged by the remarks, and parents of children with special needs in the area criticized his controversial suggestion.
“I saw what Michael had said as a personal attack on my own children,” Sheryl Goldstein, president of the Framingham Commission on Disabilities, told foxnews.
‘That my children who had special needs were not worth the expense in the school system.’
Local resident Jon Fetherston has organized a demonstration outside City Hall to protest Hugo’s comments.
The Democratic official argued that misdiagnosed babies in the womb could become a burden on the city’s school budget.
Michael Hugo apologized for his ‘offensive’ comments 10 days later, but has since revealed he has no intention of resigning.
Disability advocate Sarah Green said she does not accept his apology, calling it “lackluster” compared to the offensive comments.
“I feel like after a statement like that is made, you can’t just pretend it didn’t happen or take it back because it’s hurting a community of people,” he said.
‘The disability community is the only minority group you can be a part of at any time.’
Large numbers of people in the community have been in an uproar since Hugo made the comments, prompting locals to stage a protest outside City Hall that is scheduled to take place next week.
An event list for the rally, organized to coincide with a City Council meeting on the same night on February 28, says it will “show support for the special needs community.”
Jon Fetherston, who organized the protest, says he couldn’t believe a government official would make offensive comments.
“As a parent of an autistic child, I read those comments and go ‘what?'” he said.
‘A classmate of mine thinks I should have aborted my child because it was going to be a drain on the school budget?’
“This is discrimination, plain and simple,” added Kristan Hawkins, mother of two children with cystic fibrosis.
“This is eugenics, this is eugenics in America in 2023, this is an argument we’ve sadly heard before and throughout American history, just regurgitated using a bunch of fancy jargon or support for abortion.”
Despite widespread calls for his resignation, Hugo told The Daily News that he will not step down as committee chair.