The N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation says it has now located 132 people in 51 counties who were involuntarily sterilized with the approval of the N.C. Eugenics Board.
The foundation is seeking people who were sterilized between 1929 and 1974 as the state prepares to offer compensation. Nearly 7,600 residents were victims of the program that targeted illness, disability, economic status, perceived promiscuity and “feeblemindedness” for people as young as 10. The foundation estimates that as many as 2,000 may still be alive.
The foundation received more than 1,900 phone calls from January through March alone, but reviewing those claims takes time.
Gov. Bev Perdue recently pledged to include $10.3 million to allow payments of $50,000 to each victim, while legislators say they are working on a compensation bill they hope to introduce this spring. Foundation executive director Charmaine Cooper said she hopes Perdue’s support will encourage more people to step forward.
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Anyone with information about a victim of the state’s eugenics program should call the toll-free hotline 877-550-6013 or visit www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov.