The state Eugenics Compensation Task Force recommended Tuesday paying victims of the state’s sterilization program $50,000 apiece.
The recommendation follows a 93-page report issued in August that called on the state of North Carolina to move beyond just an apology and provide “meaningful compensation.”
North Carolina sterilized more than 7,600 people between 1929 and 1974, many of whom were poor, undereducated, institutionalized, sick or disabled. The state believes fewer than 2,000 victims are still alive and could be entitled to some compensated.
The NC NAACP issued a press release calling on the state’s leaders to fast-track the recommended payments and end an ugly chapter in the state’s history:
“Ten years have passed since the state offered a formal apology to victims of the involuntary sterilizations in 2001. Time is precious for the surviving victims and we need to move forward to assist these individuals. ”
“The time has come for the state to right this horrible wrong and fulfill its promise to these citizens who have suffered long enough.”
Governor Bev Perdue thanked the panel for their months of hard work, and voiced support for their final proposal:
“While no amount of money will ever make up for the fact that government officials deprived North Carolinians, mostly women, of the possibility of having children—and officials did so, in most cases, without the victims’ consent or against their will—we must do something. I support the task force’s compensation proposal. I also agree that we should establish a permanent exhibit so that this shameful period is never forgotten.”
House Speaker Thom Tillis has previously said that the eugenics victims “need to have it made right” and he wants the legislature to vote this year on a compensation plan.