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North Carolina sterilization program on the poor

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flounder

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Poor Women Sterilized by Govt.


Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacks

Mon Nov 7, 2011 9:09 AM EST.

By Michelle Kessel and Jessica Hopper Rock Center


Mon Nov 7, 2011 9:09 AM EST.

By Michelle Kessel and Jessica Hopper Rock Center

Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967. The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized. Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.

“I have to carry these scars with me. I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Riddick was never told what was happening. “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said. “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”

Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”

“I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina. They took something from me both times,” she said. “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It wouldn’t be until Riddick was 19, married and wanting more children, that she’d learn she was incapable of having any more babies. A doctor in New York where she was living at the time told her that she’d been sterilized.

“Butchered. The doctor used that word… I didn’t understand what she meant when she said I had been butchered,” Riddick said.

North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program. By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs.

Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s. Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited. To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized. Some of America’s wealthiest citizens of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble fortune and James Hanes of the hosiery company. Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.

It began as a way to control welfare spending on poor white women and men, but over time, North Carolina shifted focus, targeting more women and more blacks than whites. A third of the sterilizations performed in North Carolina were done on girls under the age of 18. Some were as young as nine years old.

For the past eight years, North Carolina lawmakers have been working to find a way to compensate those involuntarily sterilized in the state between 1929 and 1974. During that time period, 7,600 people were sterilized in North Carolina. Of those who were sterilized, 85 percent of the victims were female and 40 percent were non-white.

“You can’t rewind a watch or rewrite history. You just have to go forward and that’s what we’re trying to do in North Carolina,” said Governor Beverly Perdue in an exclusive interview with NBC News.

While North Carolina’s eugenics board was disbanded in 1977, the law allowing involuntary sterilization wasn’t officially repealed until 2003. In 2002, the state issued an apology to those who had been sterilized, but the victims have yet to receive any financial compensation, medical care or counseling from the state. Since 2003, three task forces have been created to determine a way to compensate the victims. Officials estimate that as many as 2,000 victims are still alive.

Riddick was one of several victims to speak at a public hearing this summer. It was the first time that many survivors had told their stories publicly and that others heard of North Carolina’s tarnished past.

“To think about folks who went in…and their doctor told them this was birth control and they were sterilized…the folks who didn’t have the capacity to make the decisions, the uninformed consent,” said Perdue. “Those types of stories aren’t good for America and I can’t allow for this period in history to be forgotten, that’s why this work is important.”

Only 48 victims have been matched with their records, something necessary for them to eventually be compensated. State Representative Larry Womble has been advocating for the survivors of the state’s sterilization program for nearly 10 years. He helped fight for the repeal of the state’s law.

Womble said that if the government is “powerful enough to perpetrate this on this society, they ought to be responsible, step up to the plate and compensate.”

In August, a task force created by Gov. Perdue recommended that the victims be compensated, but they were unsure how much to award the victims. Previous numbers pondered range between $20,000 and $50,000. The task force also recommended mental health services for living victims and a traveling museum exhibit about North Carolina’s eugenics program.

Perdue said it’s a challenge to determine how much money each victim should be given.

“From my perspective, and as a woman, and as the governor of this state, this is not about the money. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay these people for what has been done to them, but money is part of the equation,” she said.

Riddick once sued North Carolina for a million dollars. Her case made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, but the court declined to hear the case. “I would like for the state of North Carolina to right what they wronged with me,” she said.

Some victims and their advocates have questioned whether North Carolina is procrastinating in compensating them, hoping they’ll die before a solution is reached. “It’s an ugly chapter in North Carolina’s book, we have a wonderful book, but there’s an ugly chapter,” Womble said. “We must step up to the plate and we must realize and take responsibility.”

Perdue, for her part, said that she is committed to helping the victims.

“I want this solved on my watch. I want there to be completion. I want the whole discussion to end and there be action for these folks. There is nobody in North Carolina who is waiting for anybody to die,” Gov. Perdue said.

Despite the state social workers who declared Riddick was “mentally retarded” and “promiscuous”, she went to college and raised the son born moments before she was sterilized. Her son is devoted to his mother and a successful entrepreneur.

Elaine is proud of her achievements.

“I don’t know where I would be if I listened to the state of North Carolina,” she said.

Editor's note: If you think you or someone you know was a victim of North Carolina's eugenics program or for more information about the ongoing efforts to compensate the victims, visit the website for the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation: http://www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov/


http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/07/8640744-victims-speak-out-about-north-carolina-sterilization-program-which-targeted-women-young-girls-and-blacks



this must have been a republican ploy.

mike, you sure you wasn't in on this ?

these victims should get what ever they ask for, and then some. ...
 

hypocritexposer

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Seems they forgot to mention Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood in the article......

Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s. Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited. To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized. Some of America’s wealthiest citizens of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble fortune and James Hanes of the hosiery company. Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.
 

TexasBred

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flounder said:
this must have been a republican ploy.

mike, you sure you wasn't in on this ?

these victims should get what ever they ask for, and then some. ...

I do believe one Mr. Lyndon B. Johnson (D) was President at that time and North Carolina has had only 2 republican governors since 1901.
 

Sir Loin

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I don’t see where the problem is!
If it was court ordered------------CASE CLOSED!

We are a land of laws not of public opinion or special interest dictators.
SL
 

okfarmer

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At what age do you think someone should have the power to decide what is right for their own body?
 

Martin Jr.

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CASE CLOSED!!??
We should be a nation of JUST LAWS, if our laws are not just, we are no better than Nazi Germany.
Hitler followed laws too; laws of his own making that were unjust.
 

Steve

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okfarmer said:
At what age do you think someone should have the power to decide what is right for their own body?

I think most people including children know what is right and wrong,..

when an adult makes a decision for a child, they should not only consider the child in front of them, but the child's' future as well and not some self serving agenda.. such as the article depicted.
 

Lonecowboy

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Martin Jr. said:
CASE CLOSED!!??
We should be a nation of JUST LAWS, if our laws are not just, we are no better than Nazi Germany.
Hitler followed laws too; laws of his own making that were unjust.


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
 

Tam

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List of North Carolina Governors

Charles Brantley Aycock January 15, 1901 January 11, 1905 Democratic

Robert Broadnax Glenn January 11, 1905 January 12, 1909 Democratic

William Walton Kitchin January 12, 1909 January 15, 1913 Democratic

Locke Craig January 15, 1913 January 11, 1917 Democratic

Thomas Walter Bickett January 11, 1917 January 12, 1921 Democratic

Cameron Morrison January 12, 1921 January 14, 1925 Democratic

Angus Wilton McLean January 14, 1925 January 11, 1929 Democratic

Oliver Max Gardner January 11, 1929 January 5, 1933 Democratic

John C.B. Ehringhaus January 5, 1933 January 7, 1937 Democratic

Clyde R. Hoey January 7, 1937 January 9, 1941 Democratic

J. Melville Broughton January 9, 1941 January 4, 1945 Democratic

R. Gregg Cherry January 4, 1945 January 6, 1949 Democratic

W. Kerr Scott January 6, 1949 January 8, 1953 Democratic

William B. Umstead January 8, 1953 November 7, 1954 Democratic

Luther H. Hodges November 7, 1954 January 8, 1961 Democratic

Terry Sanford January 5, 1961 January 8, 1965 Democratic

Dan K. Moore January 8, 1965 January 3, 1969 Democratic

Robert W. Scott January 3, 1969 January 5, 1973 Democratic

James E. Holshouser, Jr. January 5, 1973 January 8, 1977 Republican

James B. Hunt, Jr. January 8, 1977 January 5, 1985 Democratic

James G. Martin January 5, 1985 January 9, 1993 Republican

James B. Hunt, Jr. January 9, 1993 January 6, 2001 Democratic

Mike Easley January 6, 2001 January 10, 2009 Democratic

Beverly Perdue January 10, 2009 incumbent Democratic

Yea Flounder it sure looks like the Republicans were involved. :roll: Just like the Republicans get the blame for everything that has ever happened against the Blacks even thou it was the Democrats that started the KKK. And it is the Democrats that continue to hold the minorities on the government teat so they can control them and their votes. :roll:
 

hypocritexposer

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Faster horses said:
Lonecowboy said:
Martin Jr. said:
CASE CLOSED!!??
We should be a nation of JUST LAWS, if our laws are not just, we are no better than Nazi Germany.
Hitler followed laws too; laws of his own making that were unjust.


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

That was profound, Martin Jr.
:tiphat:


with Martin's post and Tam's outlining the Political affiliation of thee Govs. is it any wonder that the Democrats followed the "teachings" of Margaret Sanger and still do to this day........?


The same people that fight for "homosexual rights" do not realize that it is their ideology that was searching for a genetic test that would allow them to abort babies that were genetically predisposed.
 

okfarmer

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Steve said:
okfarmer said:
At what age do you think someone should have the power to decide what is right for their own body?

I think most people including children know what is right and wrong,..

when an adult makes a decision for a child, they should not only consider the child in front of them, but the child's' future as well and not some self serving agenda.. such as the article depicted.

Oh, I agree. But I think it is funny that this liberal that is so concerned about a child's ability to self propagate, probably does not blink an eye when a full term baby's entire life is snuffed out. They are taking away the child's ability to reproduce- where is the outrage? They butcher the kid's freaking BRAIN- where is the outrage?
 

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