Raleigh, N.C. — A state panel said Thursday that another 50 living victims of North Carolina's forced sterilization program have been identified, bringing the total to 168.
The North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation has confirmed that another 18 people who have since died also were part of the eugenics program that operated between 1929 and 1974. More than 7,600 sterilization procedures were conducted in that period.
The state House voted in May to include money in the 2012-13 budget to pay each living victim $50,000 in compensation, but the Senate refused to agree to the move.
"We came so close to achieving compensation for those who were victimized by the state before the legislature refused to approve my budget recommendation," Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement Thursday. "We cannot stand idle on the sidelines while these aging citizens die without due compensation from what the state did to them.”
Sterilization victims have been found in 61 of the state's 100 counties, with the largest number, 24, in Lenoir County. Mecklenburg County at 15 and Wake County at 12 are the only others with more than 10 verified victims.
The proposed compensation program also would establish a permanent exhibit about the eugenics movement in the North Carolina Museum of History.