House backs expanded compensation for forced sterilization

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers are set to expand the state’s compensation program for people involuntarily sterilized by government officials several decades ago.

The House on Monday passed a bill allowing North Carolina’s four largest counties to create compensation programs for those sterilized by orders of local governments.

Between 1929 and 1974, about 7,600 people deemed “feeble-minded” or otherwise undesirable were sterilized in North Carolina. A 2013 law set up a compensation program if the state Eugenics Board ordered the procedure.

Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, says this year’s proposal is aimed at people whose sterilizations were ordered by county officials. Stam estimates the bill would apply to a few dozen people in Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth counties, where he says the majority of people sterilized by county workers lived.

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