Raleigh, NC -- The NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation announced Monday that there is an increase in the number of victims sterilized by the state's former Eugenics Board program. More than 100 people have been matched to state program records and the Foundation is encouraging more people to come forward.
Of the 111 people matched with treatment in 48 counties, Lenoir County, where the Caswell Center is located, has the highest number of matches with 18. Mecklenburg, which had the highest number of procedures of any North Carolina county, follows with 10 verifications, then Wake with nine. However, three of the counties ranked in the Top 10 for number of procedures have no matches to date.
"I am putting together the compensation plan for inclusion in my budget and I encourage anyone who believes they are a victim to contact the Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation," said Gov. Bev Perdue. "They are working hard to identify individuals who were affected, and the steady increase in matches with archived records is an important step in this process."
The Foundation continues to receive a steady flow of incoming verification requests and has received more than 1,300 phone inquiries since January, said Foundation Executive Director Charmaine Fuller Cooper. As public support for North Carolina's sterilization victims continues to increase, the number of verified victims is expected to rise.
"North Carolina operated the most aggressive eugenics program in the nation, sterilizing the majority of its program victims after World War II and the Holocaust. Anyone could have been subjected to a sterilization order and the chances for sterilization were great for those in poverty," Fuller Cooper said. "Victims have courageously stepped forward to tell their stories and their courage has inspired more people to contact the Foundation."
In January, Gov. Bev Perdue's Eugenics Compensation Task Force recommended a tax free lump sum payment of $50,000 to living victims and those who were alive when initially verified by the Foundation. The Task Force also recommended providing mental health services to victims, creation and expansion of permanent and traveling eugenics exhibits, and continuation of the Sterilization Victims Foundation. The Governor's recommendations are expected to be included in the budget she submits to lawmakers.