Without Consent: Compensation Sought for Victims of North Carolina's Sterilization Program
Holmes, Tamara E., Black Enterprise
WHEN MARY ENGLISH, OF FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, was 22, a routine trip to the doctor left her infertile. The doctor told her "they had a procedure and if I went with this procedure, I wouldn't have to worry about birth control," recalls English. What the doctor failed to tell her, English says, is that the procedure would leave her sterile. Now, lawmakers in North Carolina are seeking compensation from the state for victims of the sterilizations.
English is one of thousands of women in North Carolina who was sterilized between 1929 and 1974 as part of the eugenics movement, which led to laws in many states that were designed to keep mental illness and social ills, such as promiscuity and criminal behavior, from being passed from generation to generation. The sterilization of mostly poor women deemed likely to reproduce children with these qualities was legal in many states.
Money won't alleviate the emotional toll of sterilization, but it can help survivors get "the right kind of professional counseling and live some semblance of a normal life," says Rep. Earline W. …