North Carolina considers compensating eugenics victims

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 22, 2011

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The estimated 3,000 surviving victims of North Carolina's eugenic sterilization program should be compensated with a lump sum of money and receive mental health services, said a task force appointed by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.

About 7,600 North Carolinians deemed unfit to reproduce were forcibly sterilized between 1929 and 1974 during "a shameful period in our history," said the panel's Aug. 1 report (link). Figures ranging from $20,000 to $50,00 have been floated as satisfactory lump-sum payments to the victims, but the task force will not settle on a figure until it issues a final report in February 2012. The task force also will consider whether to recommend compensating the surviving family members of sterilization victims who have died. The state should fund a traveling exhibit about North Carolina's experiment with eugenics, said the five-member task force, which includes a pediatrician.

"It may be hard to justify spending millions when the state is cutting back on other essential services," the report said. "But the fact is, there never will be a good time to redress these wrongs, and the victims have already waited too long."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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