Eugenics victims sought in North Carolina

March 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM

RALEIGH, N.C., March 20 (UPI) -- Officials are encouraging victims of a 1929-1974 North Carolina eugenics plan, in which 7,600 people were sterilized in a government program, to come forward.

The state is researching its records to identify people who were part of a program implemented by the Eugenics Board, and have located 111 survivors, officials said.

Inquiries from state residents increased after a special task force decided in January that compensation of $50,000 should be available to each surviving victim, said Charmaine Fuller Cooper of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.

The Eugenics Board, a state agency, implemented a program of involuntary sterilization on those regarded as mentally ill, "feeble minded," poor or considered promiscuous. Nearly 7,600 people were sterilized in the 45-year span, and 1,500 to 2,000 are believed to still be alive, the Raleigh, N.C., News and Observer reported Tuesday.

Money for victim compensation will be available, Gov. Bev Perdue said in a statement, and House Speaker Thom Tillis is gathering support for the plan, the newspaper said.

"The goal is definitely to get something passed in the short session," which begins in May, a spokesman for Tillis said.

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