Debra Blackmon was 13 years old when two social workers visited her home in North Carolina, assessed her to be “severely retarded,” and put in motion the process for her sterilization. The year was 1972. Though the state passed a law in 2013 to compensate victims of involuntary sterilization under the North Carolina Eugenics Board, Blackmon was denied because her paperwork stated that she was sterilized under county authority – not state authority, a technicality written into the law.
In March, a bill was introduced to broaden the qualifications of the eugenics compensation program and close the loophole that excluded Blackmon from receiving a portion of the $10 million set aside for victims. The number of people the extension might affect is difficult to estimate; however, by the June 2014 deadline to apply for compensation, there were 786 applications and only 220 were approved.
Despite signals earlier this year that the State of North Carolina would once again not include plans compensation for the victims of the state’s infamous eugenics programs in the state’s budget, it seems that those who suffered forcible or coerced sterilization at the hands of the state will see some restitution after all as North Carolina is set to become the first state to provide compensation to victims of a state eugenics program.
Wednesday marked the first working session of the North Carolina General Assembly and already a bill has been filed to compensate victims of North Carolina’s infamous, state-run eugenics and forced sterilization program, a representative for House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) confirms.
For months it has seemed that the recompense due to the victims of the horrific North Carolina Eugenics program was assured. The measure to award a monetary compensation to these people whose human dignity has been so grossly violated seemed only just and entertained enthusiastic support from North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, the State House of Representative, and a large number of average North Carolingians. However, despite the outpouring of support for this measure, the compensation packages were not included in the Senate’s budget.
The state of North Carolina has now identified more than 100 victims of their massive state-sponsored eugenics program which lasted from 1929 to 1974 according to reports out recently. In an effort to compensate for the wrongs of the past, Demoicratic Gov. Bev Perdue established the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation. The foundation seeks to provide justice and compensation for the still living of the estimated 7,600 North Carolinians who were forcibly sterilized by direction of the North Carolina Eugenics Board. View More