State News

Author to discuss NC eugenics regime at Legislature

Posted April 25, 2012

— An author who has studied state-sponsored sterilization programs that came before Nazi Germany adopted the practice is in North Carolina a month before lawmakers consider compensating victims.

Edwin Black is speaking Wednesday at the General Assembly in Raleigh and later in Research Triangle Park at events co-sponsored by Campbell University's law school. He's authored a history of the eugenics movement in America.

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.

Many state lawmakers have come together on the issue, attempting to right the wrong by compensating the victims of the state's sterilization program. 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 are a people who pay for our mistakes," Gerald said. "We do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights."

Gov. Beverly Perdue in March asked victims of the sterilization program to come forward as she puts together a budget that includes compensation for them.

The task force report last year said up to 2,000 of the victims were still alive, though the state has verified only 111 so far.

15 Comments

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  • linspace Apr 25, 12:48 p.m.

    What about fire department, police services, etc....?
    hereandnow99

    Your analogy is false and misguided. The services you describe are for ALL, not a specialized few. Welfare and food stamps is NOT the same as police force or firedepartment.

    And yes, you incur a bill at the hospital with a heart attack.. THAT IS YOUR BILL to pay. No matter how long it takes.. work out a payment plan. Why is it you libs think it is OUR responsibility to pay YOUR bills.. no matter how high. If I made poor decisions, misspent my life, made choices that led me to be a middle aged man without health insurance, then I screwed up.. it is not your responsibility to pay for me. I should have made better choices. Stop trying to muddy the waters. These people were sterilized NOT because of a "time of need" but because they are incapable of sustaining their own lives, let alone raising children. (I understand exceptions exist) We would pay for them and theirs, for generations to come.. YOU PAY if you want

  • storchheim Apr 25, 12:33 p.m.

    Besides, the women who have babies for a living would never agree to letting anyone "kill the golden goose" for a lump sum now vs free cash for as long as they can push 'em out. And aren't those the ones who should be stopped? For the children's sake as well as the taxpayers'?

  • storchheim Apr 25, 12:30 p.m.

    No, hereandnow99, I don't agree. For one thing, where does it stop? Paying people to only have 1 child? Programs like this have a way of expanding into bloated monstrosities. Example: FMLA is no longer sufficient; now people want PAID 12 weeks off or whatever time it is. Give the entitlement crowd an inch, they'll take a mile.

    And it would turn out just like this, or the mortgage bubble. People would claim they were coerced, they didn't understand what they were signing, etc. Hey, it's working as far as getting their mortgages eventually forgiven (wait and see!), why wouldn't it work for every other "reward for ignorance" - like the current one.

    More stick, less carrot. Limit people's welfare cash and the birth rate will drop. Could we at least try it? Nothing else has worked.

  • achilles7ls2 Apr 25, 11:59 a.m.

    Why is this even a topic of discussion? Pay the $50,000 to any living "victims". Say "we are sorry" if it makes you feel better. I did not do it, the state is broke, and quite frankly I am tired of paying for other people's screw ups! (I have enough of my own thank you)Whether its unplanned, or more appropriately our paid to breed welfare system, if you cannot afford to have a child don't. So, although morally questionable at best, I do see the practicality of the sterilization plan.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 25, 11:52 a.m.

    @linspace, that's an interesting and far-reaching idea of yours.

    But, if the gov't started to charge people for services rendered in their time of need, why not charge ALL people for services in their time of need?

    No health insurance?...but you end up in the ER with a heart attack and a $250,000 bypass surgery bill or a $300,000 cancer bill or a $150,000 head injury bill?...sell your house and all your possessions and have all your future paychecks garnished. Ok for you?

    What about fire department, police services, etc....?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 25, 11:45 a.m.

    @storcheim, I agree with you that people should take responsibility for themselves...but with 50% accidental pregnancy rate (even for educated people like John Edwards), it's clearly not working.

    I figure that one-time payment of $1,000+ for voluntary sterilization would save all of us a LOT more money later AND make people's lives better. Isn't that a win-win?

  • storchheim Apr 25, 11:29 a.m.

    hereandnow99, we do the reverse of that right now by giving tax breaks - a "loophole", if you will - to people for each child they make. We should do away with that practice. But the last thing we need is another line out the door of people wanting their gimmes and holding their hands out.

    If people don't want children, they shouldn't have them. Govt should stay out, if only because each new gimme results in a new govt agency to "administer" it and siphon off lots and lots of cash for their cronies. Those agencies never go away and the programs never end. Look at how this issue won't die!

  • Dirty_Water Apr 25, 11:07 a.m.

    I'm no thumper, but somebody said something a long, long time ago about the iniquities (sins) of the father not being visited on children three and four generations down... I did not do this. And I don't care to pay for it.

  • hardycitrus Apr 25, 11:04 a.m.

    >>>This entire system is no different than Planned Parenthood, another eugenics operation.

    Saying involuntary sterilization is the same as birth control is exactly like saying rape is "no different than" consensual sex.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 25, 10:23 a.m.

    @whatelseisnew, holding gov't employees financially responsible for their decisions? Really?

    So, GW Bush should pony up $1 Trillion for the wars he started for no reason?

    And, would the inverse be true? When a gov't agent saves or makes us money, do they get the rewards? (E.g. Durham's new DPAC raking in nice profits, NSA stopping skyscraper from getting blown up, switching street lighting to LEDs to save energy costs, etc.)

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