The N.C. General Assembly passed a bill in June 2012 outlining a $10 million total compensation package for victims of sterilization by the state from 1929 to 1974. North Carolina is the first of 32 states that had similar programs to extend compensation rights to victims.
“Today is a day of reconciliation and healing,” said Gov. Pat McCrory in a statement. “Signing the legislation to make these payments possible was among the most gratifying actions I have taken as a governor.”
Elaine Riddick, unknowingly sterilized in North Carolina at age 14 and now executive director of the Rebecca Project for Justice, a national advocate for women’s health and safety, said she was pleased the state has taken action.
“I am honestly very proud,” she said. “I think that (compensation) was something that would have had to be done, and I’m proud of North Carolina for stepping up to the plate.”
Graham Wilson, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Commerce, said in an email that the Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims accepted 220 of the 786 claim forms, and all eligible claimants received a partial payment of $20,000 on Monday.