Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yes, yes, to N.C. sterilization compensation

We're glad to see that N.C. lawmakers, back for their short session, got to work immediately in righting a wrong done to thousands of North Carolinians with the state's eugenics program - a sterilization program that lasted to the 1970s, the longest-running such program in the nation. A bipartisan group in the N.C. House filed a bill today to compensate victims. Primary sponsors included Rep. Larry Womble,D-Forsyth, Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg and Rep. Earline Parmon, D-Forsyth and House Majority Leader, Rep. Skip Stam, R-Wake. Rep. Martha Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, was a co-sponsor. A Senate companion bill was also expected to be filed.

As we said this morning in an editorial, this action is long past due. It was shameful that the state conducted such a program. There were more than 7,600 victims of the program that ran from 1929 to 1974, including and adults and children. Males and females were victims. Many were lied to about the operations; others were given explanations they were unable to understand. Currently, 132 individuals have been verified by the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, of which 118 (about 90 percent) are living.

Titled HB947: Eugenics Compensation Program, the bill reflects the recommendations of the Governor’s Eugenics Compensation Task Force, which filed its final report in January. It will establish a $10 million fund from which to issue a lump-sum, tax-free payment of $50,000 to eligible recipients and sets a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, to file a claim.

Additionally, the bill provides continued funding for the Sterilization Victims Foundation, which serves as a clearinghouse for verification requests and will be empowered to advocate on behalf of verified victims.

If the bill is signed into law, the state would become the first in the country to give money to living victims of sterilization.

We commend Rep. Womble, who was an early and persistent supporter and sponsor of compensation legislation. “There are some folks who doubted that this day would finally come. It’s taken too long, but we now stand ready to open the door and financially acknowledge the suffering the state brought to so many.”

He's right. Today's bill is a first step. By the end of this session - July at the latest, we hope - this bill should be law, and sterilization victims will be on the way to getting their justified compensation.

The sterilization bill was just one of the bills lawmakers moved quickly on. A bill to allow fracking - horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas, also moved forward. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is now in favor of fracking but the bill being pushed by Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, is said to be controversial even among Republicans. A more moderate approach is being pushed by Sen. Mitch Gillespie, R-McDowell, who favors greater public safeguards. We think more research and regulations are needed before fracking is allowed.

Here's what pundits across the state are saying about the short session of the General Assembly that started at noon:

From the Wilmington Star News: Surprisingly, Perdue and Republican leaders actually do agree on some things, including capping the tax on gasoline. But it is state Sen. Bill Rabon who has injected some reality into the conversation.

From the Fayetteville Observer: Push for fracking defies common sense.

From the (Raleigh) News and Observer: No to Voter ID

From the Greenville Daily Reflector: Seek common ground

From the Winston-Salem Journal: Compensation for sterilization victims now.

Posted by Fannie Flono


everalert said...

If they had kept the policy in place, reckon CMS would be needing all that extra money these days?

stillstanding said...

Well, just maybe we saved a whole lot of money in the long run on social services for this group.

Skippy said...

Poster 1 & 2, good to see the inbreeding has produced such outstanding results in your lineage. That being said that was the point of this program endorsed by Margaret Sanger, Hillary Clintons idle and also endorsed by Hitler. And of course this program was founded by the Democrat Party..

john law said...

How do you compensate the aborted babies?