North Carolina lawmakers passed a budget on Wednesday for $10 million to compensate victims of sterilization in the state. From 1929 to 1974 thousands of men, women, and children were sterilized without their consent. This was a way for the state to try and control different traits from being passed on such as alcoholism, promiscuity, and poverty.
There have only been 48 people that have come forward in this case. The job of finding the other few thousand who are still believed to be alive falls on the shoulders of the North Carolina Institute for Sterilization Victims Foundation.
One of the survivors is named Elaine Riddick. She was [email protected] when she was just 13 years old and became pregnant as a result. When she gave birth, she was sterilized. She has been a huge force and is trying to speak out for herself and the other survivors, and has tried to get compensation from the state for a while, but nothing ever seemed to work. She says she is amazed at what they are doing now, but money isn’t enough. Riddick says there is no amount of money that can take away the humiliation of someone stealing your ability to reproduce and castrating you.
This dark time in the state’s history is called eugenics. It is a social movement where the population is manipulated by only allowing people with certain genes to have the ability to reproduce while those with less than desirable genes are sterilized against their will. Some countries even participated in genocide as part of their practices along with forced births, and euthanasia. Some of these countries had racist elements as they were trying to keep it an Aryan race only.
It is a horrible practice and the victims in North Carolina will hopefully get a little peace from a settlement, however it will never give back what they lost or fix the emotional damage.