• North Carolina Senate Blocks Compensation for Victims of Forced Sterilization

    Until its abolition in 1977, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina was responsible for thousands of forced sterilizations of thousands of persons found to be "mentally defective." Just to be clear, that's 1977, not 1937 and North Carolina, not Nazi Germany.

    The laws that authorized involuntary sterilization of the mentally ill were only formally repealed in 2003, but North Carolina was close to adopting a compensation scheme for the surviving victims

    North Carolina's attempt to become the first state to compensate people sterilized in a decades-long program ended Wednesday after Senate Republicans refused to support a bipartisan plan to give victims $50,000 each.

    The House put $10 million in the state budget to pay eugenics victims. But it didn't survive negotiations with the Senate, where conservative lawmakers disagreed on whether to compensate victims.

    "I'm sorry it happened," said Sen. Don East, a chief critic. "I just don't think money fixes it."

    Because nothing says "I'm sorry" like blocking modest compensation for a violation inflicted on citizens by their own government.

    Look on the bright side: just three decades ago, North Carolina locked away its most feeble-minded citizens in mental institutions and violated their basic human right to reproduction. Now its most feeble-minded citizens are serving in the state legislature. Progress!

    Tags: Civil Rights, Money, North Carolina


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