Too late?

Published 12:06 am Friday, January 13, 2012

A state task force contends victims of North Carolina’s defunct eugenics program should receive $50,000 apiece as compensation for forced sterilization.

No one has enough money to compensate these victims.

“From 1929 to 1974, more than 7,600 people in North Carolina were surgically rendered unable to reproduce under state laws and practices that singled out epileptics and others considered mentally defective,” reported Associated Press writer Martha Waggoner. “Many were poor, black women deemed unfit to be parents.”

Waggoner wrote “there is bipartisan support for some (state-funded) compensation” in the N.C. General Assembly, and that Gov. Beverly Perdue released a statement in favor of the task force’s recommendation.

The possible $100 million payout would have to be endorsed by the Legislature, Waggoner noted.

This endorsement would be the smallest token our state could extend to its eugenics victims as it seeks absolution for a past mired in racism, lack of compassion and fear of the disabled.

The most we can hope for is that the victims and their families find solace in the Old North State’s belated attempt to close a brutal, unnecessary chapter in its history — and that the unfortunate legacy of this program will not be forgotten.