January 11, 2011 — A task force on Tuesday voted to recommend that people involuntarily sterilized under North Carolina's eugenics program each receive $50,000, AP/Google News reports (AP/Google News, 1/10).
North Carolina, one of 31 states to operate eugenics programs in the past, authorized the involuntarily sterilization of about 7,600 people from 1929 through 1974. Initially, North Carolina justified the sterilizations as a way to control welfare spending on low-income whites, but the program later shifted to target more women and racial minorities.
Since 2003, the state has created three task forces to determine how to compensate people who were sterilized. Survivors and family members were upset as members of the panel in December established $20,000 per victim as a starting point for compensation and discussed limiting the payouts to living victims (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/8/11).
The task force on Tuesday recommended that the funds go to verified, living victims, and those who are living now but may die before lawmakers approve the amount of compensation (AP/Google News, 1/10). Jill Lucas, communications director for the North Carolina Department of Administration, said the state has located 72 such victims so far. The panel also recommended putting a three-year statute of limitations on claiming the funds and allocated funding for mental health services for victims.
The panel's recommendations will now move to Gov. Beverly Perdue (D) for consideration. Perdue will pass her recommendations on to the General Assembly, which will make the final decision (Donaldson James/Hutchison, ABC News, 1/10).