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Ensure that victims of North Carolina's eugenics program get compensation

This petition had 52 supporters


Recently, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue formed a task force to recommend whether or not victims of the state's eugenics program will be compensated.  The final decision rests with the General Assembly.  However, given how outrageous this was, there shouldn't even be a debate.  The victims, and the families of the deceased victims, deserve monetary compensation for their suffering.

From 1929 to 1974, 7,600 people were coerced into being sterilized after the state Eugenics Board determined they had traits that made them unfit to have children.  Incredibly, while the end of World War II and the revelations about the Nazis' "experiments" to "improve" the race completely discredited eugenics as a "science," the pace of sterilization actually ramped up in North Carolina after the war.  As a result, 2,900 people--39 percent of the total--are still alive today.

While the idea of eugenics is a horror by itself, the victims were forced into it in a manner that would be considered grossly unethical--and possibly illegal and unconstitutional--by the standards of the time.  The Eugenics Board's agents--usually social workers--often threatened the victims (or their guardians, if they were minors) with the loss of their benefits if they didn't agree to the procedure.  Several of the victims were patients in state hospitals who were forced to undergo this procedure as a condition of being released.  Many of the victims were told they were going to have appendectomies, and didn't find out until years later that they'd actually been sterilized.  In nearly all cases, the victims had neither the education or the background to make a decision of this magnitude.

Former governor Mike Easley apologized to the victims in 2002.  However, they deserve much more than words.  The only way for them to get real justice is for them to recieve compensation.



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