— Opinion —
My Special Needs Brother Isn’t A Budget Constraint. He’s A Blessing.
I call my youngest sibling with special needs “little brother,” but if Michael Hugo, the defamed Democratic chairman of the Framingham City Council in Massachusetts were in my shoes, he’d probably just call him a “budget constraint” — at least that’s what his recent comments imply.
At an earlier Framingham City Council meeting, Hugo voiced complaints about the cost burden of special education for children with disabilities who were not aborted. His comments were met with backlash from both sides of the political aisle and families with special needs children. Hugo issued a public apology 10 days after the event, attempting to backpedal his ableist stance by apologizing and calling his comments “offensive and hurtful.”
It wasn’t enough, however, and Hugo was forced to step down from his position.
I have serious ideological disagreements with this discriminatory, pro-abortion agenda — but to me, this goes beyond that. It’s personal.
When Hugo began his comments by criticizing the life-saving work of pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), he doubted the integrity of PRCS sonographers by claiming they would misdiagnose defects by “proclaiming that it is a beautiful child living inside the mother.”
My own little brother, Nicholas, was a beautiful child living inside my mother when she received news of a fetal abnormality at a 37-week ultrasound. The doctors noticed that my brother had a mass on his head, thinking it was a blood clot. It turned out to be a rare brain tumor.
For abortion supporters such as Michael Hugo, this would be the perfect time to pressure a mother into abortion. Thankfully, my mom was 37 weeks pregnant in a conservative state, and she wholly believed in the dignity of her child’s life. However, the violence of abortion is often what follows a fetal diagnosis. As an example, an estimated 60 – 90% of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the womb are aborted in the United States in comparison to 18% of all pregnancies ending in abortion.
I recently held a sign at the 2023 March for Life in Washington, D.C., that said, “A Diagnosis Should Not be a Death Sentence” in response to the alarmingly high rate of abortions due to fetal diagnosis. And while it doesn’t change the morality of the issue, many of these diagnoses are often wrong, as The New York Times has reported that 85% of positive results on common prenatal tests are incorrect.
Ableism clearly starts in the womb for abortion supporters — but it doesn’t end there.
Moments after Nicholas’ birth, a neonatologist at the hospital told my mom that her newborn’s life would “not be worth much.” He claimed Nicholas would “be a vegetable,” and it would be unlikely that Nicholas would walk, talk, or keep up with his peers.
Nicholas is now a healthy 12-year-old boy who runs, talks up a storm, swims competitively, and loves his trampoline — although to be clear, his life would still be equally valuable even if the neonatologist had been correct.
Yes, he lives his life daily with special needs. He receives specialized medical treatment, as well as educational and developmental support from a reading specialist, an occupational therapist, and other special services. His life is different in many ways from mine, but that doesn’t mean his life isn’t worth living.
However, Hugo views these “special services” designed to help my brother as too costly. As he said, “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.”
His statement reduces my brother to a financial strain because of a “defect.” It’s really a heartless stance and denies the resilience of children with special needs like Nicholas. They truly defy the odds by surviving diagnoses, countless surgeries, and treatments.
I am disgusted by Hugo’s stance, but I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s perfectly in alignment with the beliefs of Margaret Sanger, founder of the leading abortion vendor in America, Planned Parenthood.
A little more than a century ago, Sanger wrote sentiments similar to Hugo, saying: “No more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective.”
Eugenics was on the rise in Sanger’s day, and it is here today — Planned Parenthoods are tucked into suburbs across America doing the work she championed: ending the life of minority groups, those with intellectual disabilities, and even those with physical abnormalities.
Democrats like Hugo need to get their facts straight. They cannot be the party of diversity while supporting the eradication of minority groups through eugenics. They cannot be the party of equality while discriminating against special needs students because of expenses. They cannot be the party of inclusion when they directly and intentionally exclude an entire group of human beings — the pre-born — from the fundamental and constitutional right to life.
Thankfully, Hugo finally did step down after publicly supporting pre-born children losing their lives. Nevertheless, my prayer is that any American who doesn’t know where they stand on abortion will lose any last shred of respect they may have for the “pro-choice” argument. At the end of the day, it’s just pro-discrimination.
Anna Young is a Student Spokeswoman with Students for Life of America and an undergraduate student at Concordia University Wisconsin.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.