Both the N.C. NAACP, a state advocacy organization, and the UNC Law’s Center for Civil Rights have requested for the legislature to extend the June 30 deadline, but so far the deadline has stood.
The University’s civil rights center has continued to find more claimants after the deadline, said Elizabeth Haddix, senior staff attorney for the UNC School of Law’s Center for Civil Rights.
According to the research of Lutz Kaelber, a sociology professor at the University of Vermont and a eugenics expert, about 1,500 victims of sterilization in North Carolina are estimated to still be alive.
“I think (the deadline) is almost unethical,” he said.
The state’s history of forced sterilizations dates to at least the 1920s. The Eugenics Board of North Carolina was established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1933 to review all cases of sterilization. The board was formally abolished in 1977.
In June 2012, the General Assembly passed a measure to compensate victims, allocating $10 million to be split among the victims that came forward.
This program is unique to North Carolina, Kaelber said, because to date no eugenics victim in the U.S. has been compensated. But he said the compensation — about $14,000 per victim if all current claims are approved — still seems low.
“In similar cases, where somebody is still alive and will suffer from that injury, it is not uncommon to have a structured settlement that is paid over time,” Kaelber said.