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2,000 people forcibly sterilized! NC panel: Sterilization victims should get $50K

Watch Video: http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/16486889/nc-panel-sterilization-victims-should-get-50k?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6624763
As many as 2,000 people forcibly sterilized decades ago in North Carolina should get $50,000 each, a task force said Tuesday, marking the first time a state has moved to compensate victims of eugenics programs that weeded out the “feeble-minded” and others deemed undesirable.

The payout, which could amount to as much as $100 million, still needs approval from the Legislature. But the prospects for passage of some sort of compensation are promising, since the governor immediately embraced the recommendation, and the House speaker has come out in favor of payments.

While dozens of states had programs in the 20th century that allowed people to be sterilized against their will in the name of improving the human race, none of the others has offered anything more than apologies.

Compensation “sends a clear message that we in North Carolina are people who pay for our mistakes and that we do not tolerate bureaucracies that trample on basic human rights,” said panel chairwoman Dr. Laura Gerald, a pediatrician.

From 1929 to 1974, more than 7,600 people in North Carolina were surgically rendered unable to reproduce under state laws and practices that singled out epileptics and others considered mentally defective. Many were poor, black women deemed unfit to be parents.

A task force report last year said 1,500 to 2,000 of the victims were still alive, though the state has verified only 72 so far.

Last year, Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue created the five-person task force to decide how to compensate victims. It consisted of a judge, a doctor, a former journalist, a historian and a lawyer.

The panel had discussed amounts between $20,000 and $50,000, and some victims and family members had bitterly complained that was too little. The panel also weighed whether to compensate victims’ family members or descendants – some people were sterilized after giving birth – but decided against it.

On Tuesday, some victims said they were just looking forward to seeing the issue resolved.

Elaine Riddick, 57, was sterilized at 14 after she gave birth to a son who was the product of a rape.

“I was a victim twice: once by the rapist and one by the state of North Carolina. Normally, if you commit a crime, you pay for it. They committed the biggest crime. They committed a crime against God. They committed a crime against humanity,” she said, wiping tears from her face. “And this is all I can do is just accept what they said today and go on with my life.”

While taking away someone’s ability to have children sounds barbaric today, eugenics programs gained popularity in the U.S. and other countries in the early 1900s, promoted as a means of raising the health and intellectual level of the human race.

More than 30 states enacted laws allowing surgical sterilization for certain people, though not all of them carried out such procedures. More than 60,000 people were forcibly sterilized under such programs, and some historians think the same thing was done to thousands more in other states under the authority of doctors or local officials.

Most states abandoned those efforts after World War II when such practices became closely associated with Nazi Germany’s attempts to achieve racial purity, though North Carolina stood out because it actually ramped up its program after the war. Sterilizations in North Carolina peaked in the 1950s, according to state records.

People as young as 10 were sterilized, in some cases for not getting along with schoolmates or for being promiscuous. Although officials obtained consent from patients or their guardians, many did not comprehend what they were signing.

North Carolina is among about a half-dozen states to apologize.

Melissa Hyatt, whose stepfather was sterilized, said the task force “did what was reasonable as far as budgets and economy.”

“It’s not really about the money,” she said. “It’s about the suffering and the pain.”

Read more: http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/16486889/nc-panel-sterilization-victims-should-get-50k

Read more: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/1343d45ef72c4149b80be89faed1b22c/US–Sterilization-Program/

 

Picture: “We do not stand alone”: Nazi poster from 1936 with flags of other countries with compulsory sterilization legislation

A bit of History: Compulsory sterilization (or sterilisation) also known as forced sterilization programs are government policies which attempt to force people to undergo surgical sterilization. In the first half of the twentieth century, several such programs were instituted in countries around the world, usually as part ofeugenics programs intended to prevent the reproduction and multiplication of members of the population considered to be carriers of defective genetic traits. Forced sterilization has been recognized as a crime against humanity if the action is part of a widespread or systematic practice by the Rome StatuteExplanatory Memorandum, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.[1][2]

One of the first acts by Adolf Hitler after achieving total control over the German state was to pass the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses) in July 1933. The law was signed in by Hitler himself, and over 200 eugenic courts were created specifically as a result of the law. Under the German law, all doctors in the Reich were required to report patients of theirs who were mentally retardedmentally ill (including schizophrenia and manic depression), epileptic, blind, deaf, or physically deformed, and a steep monetary penalty was imposed for any patients who were not properly reported. Individuals suffering from alcoholism or Huntington’s Disease could also be sterilized. The individual’s case was then presented in front of a court of Nazi officials and public health officers who would review their medical records, take testimony from friends and colleagues, and eventually decide whether or not to order a sterilization operation performed on the individual, using force if necessary. Though not explicitly covered by the law, 400 mixed-race “Rhineland Bastards” were also sterilized beginning in 1937.[6]

By the end of World War II, over 400,000 individuals were sterilized under the German law and its revisions, most within its first four years of being enacted. When the issue of compulsory sterilization was brought up at the Nuremberg trials after the war, many Nazis defended their actions on the matter by indicating that it was the United States itself from whom they had taken inspiration. The Nazis had many other eugenics-inspired racial policies, including their “euthanasia” program in which around 70,000 people institutionalized or suffering from birth defects were killed.[7]

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One Comment on “2,000 people forcibly sterilized! NC panel: Sterilization victims should get $50K”

  1. Mary Koski January 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    I think that all individuals that partook should be tried for the crime agaist humanity and $50.0000 is not enough compensation for anyone imposed with government will. I am sorry for your loss victims.

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