North Carolina Lawmakers To Consider Reparations For Eugenics
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 28, 2005
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA--Survivors of North Carolina's eugenic sterilization program are still waiting for the state to help them in their recovery from having their reproductive rights taken away.
In December of 2002, Governor Mike Easley apologized on behalf of his state for the legal sterilizations of 7,600 people during the last century. Two years ago this week, a panel Easley had appointed decided that the state should at least provide counseling and medical benefits for the estimated 3,400 victims who are still alive.
That hasn't happened yet.
In the meantime, a $50 million bill that would pay at least $20,000 to compensate each survivor is on its way to the Legislature. It is expected to be met with resistance from lawmakers dealing with a tight budget.
"Anytime you sterilize someone against their will, that is wrong," said Senate leader Marc Basnight, D-Dare. "I can't understand how we could've done that."
The North Carolinians were sterilized -- many against their will -- between 1929 and 1974 under the state's eugenics law that was finally repealed two years ago this month. Most of those who were operated upon had mental retardation or mental illness. By the end of the 1960s, more than 60 percent of those sterilized were black and 99 percent were female -- some as young as 10 years of age.
Eugenics was based on the racist belief that society would be improved by keeping "undesirables" from having children. Thirty-three states and two Canadian provinces legally sterilized an estimated 66,000 people. American eugenics lost popularity in most areas after the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945. In North Carolina, however, almost four-fifths of the state's sterilizations took place after World War II.
North Carolina was the third state to formally apologize for sterilizing its citizens.
"Against Their Will" (Winston-Salem Journal)
"North Carolina's Eugenics Past" (Inclusion Daily Express)