NC Senate Could Approve Bill To Compensate Eugenics Victims
North Carolina is one step closer to becoming the first state to compensate victims of its official forced-sterilization program. The House approved the legislation yesterday.
The bill would compensate living survivors $50,000 each. Between 1933 and 1974, several thousand people were ordered by a state panel to have surgeries that left them unable to reproduce. Up to 2,000 of those victims may still be alive. The state has verified 132 victims, of those verified, 118 are living.
House Speaker Thom Tillis took the unusual step of arguing in favor of the legislation. The Mecklenburg County Republican says as a conservative he feels it's necessary to compensate people who were harmed by the power of the state.
The legislation was resisted by a handful of lawmakers who say compensation now means taking from today's taxpayers to try to rectify the deeds of their ancestors. But the majority in the House argued that years of studies and evaluation have made the time right for compensation. Former Gov. Mike Easley formally apologized for the state eugenics program in 2002. The bill, which sets aside 11 million dollars, next heads to the Senate for a vote.