Eugenics in North Carolina
By: Rep. Paul Stam and Amy O’Neal
Over 45 years North Carolina forcibly sterilized approximately 7,600 men, women, and children—the third highest number of sterilizations of any state in the country. Although an apology was issued to sterilization victims in 2002, an apology alone was not a sufficient response. In 2013, the General Assembly passed the Eugenics Compensation Program to provide monetary compensation to the living victims of forced sterilizations. This Program was the first of its kind in the nation. Virginia followed suit.
The North Carolina Eugenics Compensation Program was appropriated $10 million to be divided between the total number of qualified claimants. Since the Program became effective, 220 claimants have qualified for compensation and 60 more have filed an appeal after being denied compensation after the initial eligibility determination. The focus now is to get the compensation to the victims, all of whom are elderly, as soon as possible.
This article explores North Carolina’s journey towards compensation. Section II gives a brief background on the history of the Eugenics Movement in the United States. Section III and IV provides the history of the Eugenics Movement in North Carolina and how the State began to consider providing compensation to sterilization victims. Section V details how North Carolina’s Eugenics Compensation Program operates and where the State is in providing compensation today….
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