Abortion Lessens ‘The Cost of a Child in Special Education,’ Local Democratic Party Official Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2023/02/16/abortion-lessens-the-cost-of-a-child-in-special-education-local-democratic-party-official-says/

Abortion is rightly a local issue because babies born with serious congenital problems will cost local public schools a lot of money to deal with, a Framingham Democratic Party official said.

Michael Hugo, chairman of the Framingham Democratic Committee, made the comment during a city council meeting last week.

“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,” Hugo said Tuesday, February 7 during the public comment portion of the Framingham City Council.

Hugo made the comments online via Zoom while addressing a proposed proclamation by the city council supporting legal abortion and criticizing pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

His oral comments came one day after a letter he emailed to the city council stating, in part, with emphasis in the original:


As for those who say that our Council has no business dealing with a ‘state issue,’ we ask if the state is going to cover the medical costs for a fetus that had sound medical reason to be terminated?  Is the state going to cover the cost of special education for a down’s syndrome affected child?  Is the state going to pay for the extraordinary medical expense for a child with an atrial septal defect?  How much does Framingham’s Public School Department pay for unreimbursed special needs transportation, specialized education, and durable supplies?  It IS a local issue!


Hugo has apologized for the comments, amid calls from some fellow Democrats in town to resign as chairman of the Framingham Democratic Committee.

“Unfortunately, my remarks were poorly drafted, hastily put together and as a result, they did not accurately reflect the meaning of what I was trying to say. The bottom line is that I owe you an apology without any excuses or equivocation, because my innermost feelings tell me that it is the right thing to do, especially when I know in my heart of hearts that I have upset people I truly care for and about,” Hugo said in a written statement, according to Framingham Patch.

Hugo told Politico that he does not intend to resign, according to a story published Thursday morning, February 16.

NewBostonPost could not immediately reach Hugo on Thursday evening.

Crisis pregnancy centers offer free products and services to women with problem pregnancies, with an eye to persuading them not to have an abortion and to help them with their pregnancy and with their baby after birth.

Critics say that some crisis pregnancy centers use false or misleading information to lure unsuspecting pregnant women for a pressure-filled pro-life pitch they don’t want.

Supporters of crisis pregnancy centers say those claims are nonsense, and that crisis pregnancy centers use reasonable marketing techniques to reach and help pregnant women free of charge and free of coercion in their hour of need.

During the summer of 2022 an abortion supporter who lives in Framingham asked city councilors to take action against crisis pregnancy centers, a Framingham city councilor, Janet Leombruno, said during a meeting of the city council on November 1, 2022. (Leombruno’s comments begin at 1:45:28 of the video.)

Framingham city councilors initially considered an ordinance banning so-called “deceptive advertising” by crisis pregnancy centers, comparable to a measure the Somerville city council approved in March 2022. The Cambridge City Council passed a similar measure on January 9, 2023.

In Framingham, after several meetings of subcommittees of the city council, members of the council decided to issue a proclamation instead of pursuing an ordinance that would have had the force of law.

The proclamation claims crisis pregnancy centers “target prospective abortion patients with misleading advertising, deceptive practices, and false medical claims,” and it commits city councilors and the mayor to “Explore options of recourse in the event a pregnant person receives misinformation or is subject to manipulation or other pressure techniques” and to make it easy for residents “to file a consumer complaint” with the city.

The city council voted 11-0 on Tuesday, February 7 to approve the proclamation.

Before the vote, though, several speakers during public comment condemned Hugo’s remarks.

Framingham resident Mary Nolan criticized both the proclamation and what Hugo said.

“I just would suggest that the committee refrain from signing such a measure, because I think it sets out several defamatory opinions, and it does not really work to include the pro-life viewpoint. And the comment that was just made is discriminatory in itself, about not wanting to support children in special education,” Nolan told the city council.

Two abortion supporters who support the city council’s proclamation also criticized Hugo’s comments.

“I’m a lifetime member of the Democratic committee, and the person who wanted to represent us, went off the rails on a different direction that had never brought before the Democratic committee. We’re not talking about eliminating special ed students and the like. We’re talking about getting out good information to the people of Framingham. And he’s casting the net a bit too wide for me, and that’s why I did want to say something,” said Patrick Dunne (at 16:31 of the video).

Cheryl Tully Stoll, a former Framingham city councilor, also described herself as a lifetime member of the Framingham Democratic Committee.

“And I am absolutely horrified at what I just heard our chairman say, and relate this entire issue to special needs costs of our schools. One has nothing to do with the other,” Tully Stoll said (at 19:52 of the video).

Michael King, director of community alliances for the Massachusetts Family Institute, which opposes the proclamation, spoke in favor of crisis pregnancy centers during several previous public meetings in Framingham and was listening live online to the February 7 city council meeting.

King likened Hugo’s argument to attempts to remove conditions considered undesirable through managed reproduction.

“Mr. Hugo’s remarks are the definition of eugenics. In addition, he is not just any voice in the city but a leader in the Democratic Party. Such remarks call for directed evolution and playing the role of who gets to live and who does not. Such a worldview should be condemned by any human being,” King told New Boston Post by email.

Below is a complete transcript of Hugo’s oral remarks during the Tuesday, February 7 meeting of the Framingham City Council. The chairman of the council had just called upon Hugo to speak, via an online platform. (Hugo’s comments start at 10:20 of the video.)


Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Michael Hugo. I am a Framingham resident.

And, first of all, I want to thank the subcommittee for – it’s an incredible road that it followed to get us here tonight. The work that was done by that subcommittee is just — it’s a credit to the council, and it’s a credit to our city.

I am here tonight speaking on behalf of the Framingham Democratic Committee. And our mission is to work for the common good by promoting racial, ethnic, social, and economic equality for the people of Framingham.

This is a local issue. I know that there’s been some discussion that it’s not. It certainly is.

You can reach a crisis prevention – a crisis pregnancy center by driving three miles to the east or three miles to the west of our borders. And you will find one of the classic ones that we are working so hard to prevent from coming to Framingham. It’s that close to Framingham.

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.

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 state.”

So with that, I just want to congratulate the hard work of the subcommittee, and ask the councilors to support this. And thank you for your time.


Framingham is a city of about 71,000 people about 19 miles west of Boston.

Framingham went 73 to 24 percent for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.


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