Thursday, June 23, 2011

North Carolina hearing explores history of forced sterilization - CNN.com

North Carolina hearing explores history of forced sterilization - CNN.com

"A social worker convinced my mom to sign for me to undergo an operation that would prevent me from getting pregnant, not knowing all the while that I was being set up to be sterilized like I was some kind of animal."

Eugenics is the process of selectively breeding humans and animals to rid the population of "unfit" characteristics. In 1933, North Carolina passed a revised eugenics law. The law established the North Carolina Eugenics Board, which largely targeted low-income females for sterilization procedures.

After World War II, most states abolished their eugenics programs when it became clear that Nazi's used similar practices to further their ideals of racial purity. But the number of sterilizations in North Carolina peaked between 1950-1960, according to state records. Though the eugenics board was abolished in 1977, the law remained a general statute until 2003.

In 2003, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue established the Governor's Eugenics Compensation Task Force to research and provide recommendations for possible compensation for victims. The task force has an August 1 deadline to submit a proposal to the governor.

State representatives considered offering $50,000 in compensation to victims, but legislators deemed the amount too high. Now they are considering whether to offer $20,000 or to pay for medical services.

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