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Lawmakers reject eugenics compensation

June 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM

RALEIGH, N.C., June 21 (UPI) -- North Carolina's failure to approve a plan to compensate victims of forced sterilization has devastated survivors, the head of a victims' organization said.

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate turned down a House plan Wednesday to give $50,000 to each surviving victim of the state's decades-long sterilization program, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported.

The plan hit a dead end during negotiations between the House and the Senate.

Executive Director Charmaine Fuller Cooper of the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation said the Legislature's failure to approve a compensation plan has "really devastated victims."

"Even though they are 80, 90 years old they remember it vividly. They had to reopen old wounds," she said. "They're angry and they have justification in how they feel."

North Carolina began one of the most active eugenics programs in the country in 1929 when a state board ordered sterilization for poor, feeble-minded, mentally diseased or people likely to have disabled children.

The program continued until 1974.

Cooper's foundation estimates 1,350 to 1,800 people were victims of the program

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