by Lisa Sorg
State Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, a long-time advocate for North Carolinians who were involuntarily sterilized under the state's eugenics program, introduced legislation today that would set up a $10 million fund to compensate those victims.
The Governor's Eugenics Task Force recommended that the victims receive a lump-sum, tax-free amount of $50,000 each. So far, 132 people have been verified; 118 of them are living.
Between 1929 and 1974, the State of North Carolina sterilized an estimated 7,600 men, women and children. Even after most states ended their programs after World War II, the N.C. Eugenics Board continued to approve sterilizations for often little more than the loosely defined definition of being "feebleminded" and therefore unfit to reproduce.
The bill would provide funding for several related compensation initiatives, according to a press release, including $654,000 to Sterilization Victims Foundation, which serves as a clearinghouse for verification requests and have the authority to advocate on behalf of verified victims.