(Image Source: Wikimedia)


BY LAUREN ZIMA

In a landmark move, a task force in North Carolina has determined that as many as 2,000 people who were forcibly sterilized in the state years ago should get $50,000 each.

The announcement marks the first time a state has moved to compensate people who were victims of eugenics -- or, forced sterilization intended to weed out undesirable characteristics from the population. CNN says 33 U.S. states had eugenics programs at one point or another, and that in North Carolina more than 7,000 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974.

“In North Carolina, anyone -- a parent, a teacher, a neighbor -- could ask the state eugenics board to have someone sterilized. Some victims were developmentally disabled -- living in institutions, but some were at home -- forced to go under the knife because they were paupers, or because they were blind or deaf.”

North Carolina estimates about 2,000 of those victims are still alive today, and has identified 72. ABC spoke with one -- Elaine Riddick, who says she was sterilized at age 14 after she was raped, and impregnated from that rape.

“Deemed ‘promiscuous’ and ‘feebleminded’ by a social worker at the hospital, Riddick, who came from a black family on welfare, was recommended to the state for sterilization shortly after arriving. ... The state authorized and paid for the procedure, and without her consent or even her knowledge, Riddick was sterilized shortly after giving birth.”

The recommended compensation still has to be approved by state legislature. While some lawmakers worry about North Carolina’s budget, others have argued that victims should get as much as $1 million each.

State Rep Larry Womble has been an advocate of compensation. NBC News spoke with him.

“There was sort of a hush-hush type of thing, and records and files were all hidden away. Down in the basement, under a key. Little boys - they would castrate them. Little girls, they would go inside them and take out their organs.”


The University of North Carolina’s paper - The Daily Tar Heel - published a letter to the editor on the news. The writer commends North Carolina -- and says other states should follow suit.

“... The eugenics movement [has] received overdue attention … Now is the perfect time for us to consider how we confront our nation’s history …”
 

If the task force’s recommendation is approved, victims will have a three-year statue of limitations to claim funds.

North Carolina Moves To Compensate Eugenics Victims

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Jan 11, 2012

North Carolina Moves To Compensate Eugenics Victims

(Image Source: Wikimedia)


BY LAUREN ZIMA

In a landmark move, a task force in North Carolina has determined that as many as 2,000 people who were forcibly sterilized in the state years ago should get $50,000 each.

The announcement marks the first time a state has moved to compensate people who were victims of eugenics -- or, forced sterilization intended to weed out undesirable characteristics from the population. CNN says 33 U.S. states had eugenics programs at one point or another, and that in North Carolina more than 7,000 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974.

“In North Carolina, anyone -- a parent, a teacher, a neighbor -- could ask the state eugenics board to have someone sterilized. Some victims were developmentally disabled -- living in institutions, but some were at home -- forced to go under the knife because they were paupers, or because they were blind or deaf.”

North Carolina estimates about 2,000 of those victims are still alive today, and has identified 72. ABC spoke with one -- Elaine Riddick, who says she was sterilized at age 14 after she was raped, and impregnated from that rape.

“Deemed ‘promiscuous’ and ‘feebleminded’ by a social worker at the hospital, Riddick, who came from a black family on welfare, was recommended to the state for sterilization shortly after arriving. ... The state authorized and paid for the procedure, and without her consent or even her knowledge, Riddick was sterilized shortly after giving birth.”

The recommended compensation still has to be approved by state legislature. While some lawmakers worry about North Carolina’s budget, others have argued that victims should get as much as $1 million each.

State Rep Larry Womble has been an advocate of compensation. NBC News spoke with him.

“There was sort of a hush-hush type of thing, and records and files were all hidden away. Down in the basement, under a key. Little boys - they would castrate them. Little girls, they would go inside them and take out their organs.”


The University of North Carolina’s paper - The Daily Tar Heel - published a letter to the editor on the news. The writer commends North Carolina -- and says other states should follow suit.

“... The eugenics movement [has] received overdue attention … Now is the perfect time for us to consider how we confront our nation’s history …”
 

If the task force’s recommendation is approved, victims will have a three-year statue of limitations to claim funds.

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