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North Carolina is going to try to make things right with those who were victims of involuntary sterilization. The program was used to stop the reproduction of those who were deemed to poor or mentally unfit to be parents.
Forced sterilization was made legal in 1927, but stopped after World War II. The program in North Carolina was unique because it lasted far longer than the others. The program went on from 1946 through 1968. A reparations bill is being sent to the finance committee of the state legislature this week. It has support from both parties.
“This is not a perfect bill,” said sponsor Rep. Larry Womble, a Democrat. “But it is a bill that separates North Carolina from the rest of the world. This is a proud day.”
Over 60,000 people were forced or coerced into getting sterilized in the US from 1907 through 1974. Most of the programs targeted the poor, mentally ill and minorities. North Carolina governor Bill Perdue has put aside $10 million to compensate victims of sterilization with payments of $50,000 each.
“Get it over with and have it done so they can enjoy it before they die,” Republican Rep. Paul Stam said this week.