Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky
All Gov

January 13, 2012

Exposed for having sterilized thousands of welfare recipients without their consent, the state of North Carolina is considering compensation for its victims.

The sterilizations occurred as part of a 20th century eugenics program that lasted from 1929 to 1974. As many as 7,600 people on welfare—mostly women, but disproportionally black women, and the mentally and physically disabled—were affected.

During the 1920s, the eugenics movement, which advocated sterilizing Americans who were allegedly polluting the gene pool, was so popular that 31 states ran sterilization programs. It was also considered a cost-saving strategy to reduce the number of people on welfare.

A task force in North Carolina has decided that each victim should be given $50,000 in compensation…but only those who are still alive, which would appear to be less than 2,000.

However, it remains to be seen if the legislature will authorize the funding this year, given that the budget has a $2 billion deficit. The compensation for victims could cost $100 million.

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