By The Gatepost Editorial Board
Michael Hugo, director of policy & government relations of the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards and Framingham Democratic Committee chair, made outrageous comments during a Framingham City Council Meeting Feb. 7.
This meeting focused on the approval of a proclamation to protect reproduction rights in Framingham.
With the passage of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision in June 2022, abortion access is no longer protected by the federal government and is now decided on a state-by-state basis. As a result, Massachusetts legislators suspected reproductive clinics in surrounding areas would close and an influx of pregnant people would come to the state for health care services, according to the proclamation.
Unfortunately, a number of businesses known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) have been populating Massachusetts and “appear to be reproductive healthcare clinics,” according to Framingham Source.
These clinics do not provide “comprehensive healthcare services or counseling” and are also known for false advertising that has been detrimental to reproductive health care in the state.
The proclamation was proposed to protect people in the City of Framingham from these CPCs.
This is a fantastic proclamation and thankfully, it was approved unanimously.
The problem comes with the statements made by Hugo prior to the vote, which he provided as his reason for supporting the proclamation.
According to Framingham Source, Hugo stated, on behalf of the Framingham Democratic Committee, “Our fear is that if an unqualified sonographer misdiagnoses a heart defect, an organ defect, spina bifida, 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.”
This statement seems to insinuate that fetuses showing signs of potential special needs should be aborted in order to protect a community’s school budget and misinformation from a CPC might result in a missed opportunity to terminate these pregnancies.
This is coming from someone who is one of the leading members of the Boards of Health in Massachusetts.
The decision of whether to have an abortion and why is up to the discretion of the person who is pregnant.
That is what it means to be pro-choice.
Under no circumstances should someone from the Boards of Health of all places be promoting the termination of pregnancies that could result in a child with disabilities.
That is Eugenics!
To claim that a child with disabilities is not worthy of life because it would increase special education costs is deeply concerning.
We thank all those who spoke at the meeting condemning Hugo’s comments, as well as Jon Fetherston, president of Charles River Rotary Club, for writing his Framingham Source letter-to-the-editor.
A disability does not make someone any less human or worthy of life, and to say otherwise is ableist.
Although Hugo has told NBC Boston he plans to make a public apology, what consequences will he face for his words?
This is someone who has power over health care in Massachusetts - someone who appears to view people with disabilities as nothing more than an expensive line item.
This mindset has no place in health care.
Every human being should have autonomy over their own body.
Therefore, people deserve the right to decide whether to have an abortion.
However, defending that right also means supporting people who choose not to abort a fetus despite the possibility that the child may be born with a disability.