A potential major victory for justice in North Carolina: the state budget bill would include compensation for victims of the state’s forced-sterilization program. Details include:

  • $50,000 per qualified recipient
  • Exclusion of the compensation from consideration as income, resources, or assets
  • Confidentiality of claimants, whether or not proven qualified

The John Locke Foundation has championed the cause of compensation of victims, making it one of the featured items in its Agenda 2012. This hideous program was an abuse of government in all three branches, which is why state government should acknowledge it and set it right. As I wrote last year,

From 1929 to 1977, the State of North Carolina forcibly sterilized about 7,600 of her own people for possessing “undesirable” genetic traits in the name of a movement born out of science and politics: eugenics. It was a program pushed by Progressives intended to further human evolution (“progress”) by preventing “undesirables” from reproducing, leaving reproduction to “desirable” members of society.

The idea reached its zenith in Nazi Germany, but North Carolina’s program preceded the Third Reich’s, and over 30 U.S. states had similar laws. To our shame, however, North Carolina’s program was one of the very few that wasn’t ended after seeing the hideous results of the Nazis’ program. In fact, over three-fourths of the state’s roughly 7,600 victims were sterilized after 1945.

Blame for the failure to protect victims of the forcible sterilization program spans all three branches of government in North Carolina. The legislature approved the law, the executive branch implemented it through the North Carolina Eugenics Board, and the judiciary upheld the law as constitutional in In Re Moore in 1976, going so far as to declare it the “duty” of the legislature to enact sterilization laws and “limit a class of citizens in its right to bear or beget children with an inherited tendency to mental deficiency, including feeblemindedness, idiocy, or imbecility,” so as to “protect the public and preserve the race from the known effects of the procreation.”