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Perdue pledges $10.3M for eugenics efforts

Posted April 25, 2012

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— Gov. Bev Perdue on Wednesday said that she will include $10.3 million in her 2012 budget proposal for funds that will help compensate people impacted by the state's sterilization program. 

The funds Perdue pledged Wednesday will support $50,000 payments to verified victims of North Carolina's former Eugenics program and continued operations of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, which provides ongoing outreach and clearinghouse services to assist Eugenics victims. 

"We cannot change the terrible things that happened to so many of our most vulnerable citizens, but we can take responsibility for our state's mistakes and show that we do not tolerate violations of basic human rights," Perdue said in a statement. "We must provide meaningful assistance to victims, so I am including this funding in my budget."

The Eugenics Compensation Task Force in January said that people sterilized against their will under the Eugenics program should each be paid $50,000. The task force recommended that the money go to verified, living victims, including those who are alive now but may die before lawmakers approve any compensation. 

From 1929 to 1974, more than 7,600 people in North Carolina were surgically rendered unable to reproduce under state laws and rules that targeted people deemed unfit to be parents. They included epileptics, those considered mentally defective and many who were simply poor.

Edwin Black, an author who has studied state-sponsored sterilization programs that came before Nazi Germany adopted the practice, was scheduled to speak Wednesday at the General Assembly in Raleigh and later in the Research Triangle Park at events co-sponsored by Campbell University's law school.

He's authored a history of the eugenics movement in America.

Author discusses NC eugenics regime Author discusses NC eugenics regime

Janice Black, who was sterilized as a teenager, says there isn't much North Carolina can do to apologize for what happened to her.

"No amount of money is going to repay back what's been taken from me," said Black.

State Eugenics Task Force chair Laura Gerald says she knows it's hard to put a number on the pain caused by the sterilization program, but said she hopes compensation can recognize the state's mistake and help victims.

"Compensation also serves a collective purpose to the state and sends a clear message that we in North Carolina are a people who pay for our mistakes," Gerald said. "We do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights."

A task force last year said 1,500 to 2,000 of those victims were still alive, and the state Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation confirmed Wednesday that it has verified 132 victims.

Lenoir County continues to have the highest number of verifications with 19 matches to N.C. Eugenics Board records. Mecklenberg County, which had the highest number of procedures in the state, has 12 verified living victims. Wake County ranks third in the state with 11 verified victims.

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  • ladyblue Apr 27, 2012

    While I am empathetic that your family of Indian decent perished, that is not the topic here.

    BUT IT'S THE SAME THING.When laws are established and things are carried out due to the laws made at the time, it is not FAIR to make other generations later PAY for the poor judgment of others before them. It was the law and back then living times were different. bad things have been done to lots of people in the name of ill written laws.

  • ladyblue Apr 27, 2012

    Why? The State committed the wrong so the State needs to right that wrong as best it can. It makes no sense at all why the payment now should be from voluntary sources when the original abuses were not.

    what did the state do so wrong. they didn't break laws the laws were on the books to do this. Duke hospital suggested my hysterectomy at 30 but later learned it wasn't absolutely necessary.BUT I SIGNED THE FORMS

  • Tcheuchter Apr 26, 2012

    "If Gov. Perdue and her appointed panel feel reparations are necessary, then they should begin a voluntary fundraiser, utilizing NO taxpayer money"

    Why? The State committed the wrong so the State needs to right that wrong as best it can. It makes no sense at all why the payment now should be from voluntary sources when the original abuses were not.

  • jennibarnes Apr 26, 2012

    I really don't appreciate your comment Barbstillkickin, maybe if you knew the entire issue. My Uncle was one of the people that was sterilized. I don't think my Grandmother, an immigrant from Greece, who had 3 children (including my uncle) was 'popping kids out'. My uncle suffered from a visual impairment and slight mental retardation, the state chose to sterilze him, and my grandmother who spoke broken English either didn't understand or felt backed into a corner.

    While my uncle has been deceased for 9 years, it was unfair for the state to make this decision on his behalf, he was a gentle and kind loving man. Since he is deceased, my family will not receive any compensation for his being sterilized, none.

    While I am empathetic that your family of Indian decent perished, that is not the topic here.

  • barbstillkickin Apr 26, 2012

    This is the most ridiculous law I ever heard of. Why should relatives get paid money for something that was needed. If they did not pop out a kid every year it would not have been needed. When is the state going to pay me for killing all my Indian relatives for no reason at all.

  • princessnise Apr 26, 2012

    Just love how my taxes are paying for something that happened long before I lived in the state or was even born.

  • joeblink Apr 26, 2012

    If Gov. Perdue and her appointed panel feel reparations are necessary, then they should begin a voluntary fundraiser, utilizing NO taxpayer money, either in the administration or in the payouts. The State of NC has dozens if not hundreds of 'boards' and 'commissions' - many of which are necessary but many are not. Many are just another way of "being very concerned about appearing to care." i.e., buy a few more votes.

  • hlcarithers Apr 26, 2012

    HOW MANY HAVE BEEN ON WELFARE FROM THE STATE,THESE SHOULD BE DENIED ANY COMPENSATION BECAUSE THE STATE HAS KEPT THEM UP ALL THESE YEARS.

  • Barely Apr 26, 2012

    So se wants to pay this out and give money to planned parenthood? Is she pro or anti eugenics?

  • Rebelyell55 Apr 26, 2012

    Read the story..forautumn
    April 26, 2012 9:12 a.m.........Yes it may of been against their will, but many had parents or gaurdian approval, and yes some even signed their own papers. This is all in the story from a while back. Some were mental hospital that true. Some it actually did make their lives better. Now, should we pay for years for a "circus" to travel the state and tell folks how bad our parent were? The fact remain, that the majority of this money will not go to the "victim", but will go to administration of the money and this propose "circus" they're planning.

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