Foundation to help sterilization victims still in the works

The Associated PressDecember 27, 2009 

— State officials are still working to set up a special foundation that could eventually be used to pay reparations to North Carolinians who were sterilized by a state program.

Lawmakers set aside $250,000 in this year's budget to establish the foundation.

But the Winston-Salem Journal reports little of the money has been spent six months into the budget year.

"There's not an office. There's not a hiring. It's all still in progress," said Jill Lucas, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Administration, where the foundation will be housed.

North Carolina sterilized more than 7,600 people under a eugenics program between 1933 and 1973.

The program was intended to keep people considered mentally disabled or otherwise genetically inferior from having children.

The program targeted the poor and people living in prisons and state institutions. While officials obtained written consent, many didn't know what they were signing and were essentially coerced, state historians said.

The state has estimated about 2,800 victims of the program are still alive, and there are several proposals about how to compensate them.

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