The chair of the Framingham Democratic Committee, Michael Hugo, has caused controversy after complaining about the cost of special education for children with disabilities who are not aborted. During a city council meeting, Hugo spoke about crisis pregnancy centers, which provide ultrasounds to pregnant women for little to no cost, suggesting that they could misdiagnose a defect in a baby in the womb – making heartless comments claiming that the absence of disabled children would help to avoid a budget strain on for schools.
Sheryl Goldstein, the chair of the Framingham Disabilities Commission, commented on Michael Hugo’s comments, saying:
“I saw what Michael had said as a personal attack against my own children… That my children who had special needs were not worth the expense in the school system.”
After 10 days of backlash from members of his own party and parents of special needs children, Hugo issued a public apology for his “offensive and hurtful” comments. However, some have criticized the apology, saying it was “generic and lackluster”. Disability advocates have called Hugo’s comments discriminatory and likened them to eugenics.
The origins of Planned Parenthood, initially known as the “Negro Project” in 1939, bear similarities to the current situation. Marget Sanger aimed to utilize abortion to eradicate Black and Brown minorities from the world while also persuading disabled individuals not to have children to eliminate disabilities in humans. Her project aimed to pressure minorities and disabled Americans to use abortion and birth control to restrict or eliminate their populations. Planned Parenthood’s roots can be traced back to the “Negro Project,” which serves as the foundation of its initial efforts and continues to influence the organization in 2023.
Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins would comment on the situation involving Hugo, saying:
“This is eugenics in 2023 America”
A special needs advocate and registered Republican, Jon Fetherston, was also shocked by the comments, saying he read them and thought,
“…a peer of mine thinks that I should’ve aborted my child because he was going to be a burden to a school budget?”
Kristan Hawkins, the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis and the president of Students for Life, called Hugo’s comments “discrimination plain and simple”. Disability advocates have said the comments show a lack of respect for disabled individuals and equate to a belief in eugenics.
In a letter sent to city council members before the meeting, Hugo questioned whether the state would cover the costs of special education for a child with a down syndrome, for example, or pay for the medical expenses of a child with an atrial septal defect. Hugo is also the director of policy and government affairs for the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, according to his LinkedIn profile. In his apology, Hugo claimed that members of the committee did not review his remarks, despite being sent them the night before the meeting.