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Governor's Executive Order targets eugenics and sterilization program

[North Carolina]

by Loretta ArnoldExaminer.com [Raleigh]
March 17th, 2011

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue sends a Task Force message within Executive Order No. 83 involving the North Carolina Eugenics Board's sterilization program. The program was designed to select human breeding by sterilization involving adults and young children between the years of 1929 and 1974. EO: No. 83 delivers the tools in reaching the long needed three C's for a sterilization victim and their family - closure, compensation and counseling.

Governor Perdue will appoint five Task Force members; one former judge, one physician, one former journalist, one historian, and an attorney with experience in the health insurance field or with a medical ethics background as described in the EO. The Task Force is expected to complete a preliminary report by August 1, 2011 and a final report by February 1, 2012. EO: 83 was signed by both Governor Perdue and Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall on March 8.

For more read North Carolina's Executive Order No. 83 [PDF].

The eugenics program was developed in 1933 as a part of the Department of Public Welfare - the "modern day Division of Social Services" as defined by the Department of Administration.

Dorothea Dix Hospital, located off of Lake Wheeler Road on Dix Hill in Raleigh, has offered psychiatric care to patients since 1856. The Administration notes representative(s) of Dorothea Dix Hospital were on the five-member North Carolina Eugenics Board. The first twenty years of the program focused on institutions. The mentally ill and mentally retarted were targets for sterilization.

Time and welfare offered a wide range of filtered choices at the Eugenics Board's disposal.

After 1945 welfare recipients living in poverty, those uneducated, the sick or ill were new targets of forced or coerced sterilizations. There were those patients who chose willingly to be sterilized. One of the most unacceptable processes would be during and after the 1950s when social workers were given rights to petition against person(s) who fit the sterilization profile.

Imagine your reproduction rights being stripped by a social worker having an off day.

7,600 North Carolinians were sterilized through the Eugenics Board program in a 45 year span of active operations. All in order to stop what doctors considered a cycle of "bad" gene traits.

Men and women being sterilized without knowledge allegedly while undergoing other medical procedures or inmates who faced sterilization are just two examples of how far the sterilization program may have gone. We are talking continuing the family tree, the tradition of life, the mini-you destroyed with a snip or a tie.

Those born before or during the year of 1961 would be 50-years-old [plus] at this time. The identities of the victims have not been released. According to the Adminstration, the State Center for Health Statistics reports that in 2010 it was possibile 2,944 victims were living [and still could be]. In 2005 the number of estimated living victims was over 3,000.

The program ended in 1974 - 37 years ago. The US program sterilized 65,000 Americans in 33 states. 70% of North Carolina eugenics victims were sterilized after 1945.

On December 12, 2002 the state of North Carolina apologized for any inconvenience their once Eugenics Board may have caused citizens and victims. In 2003 former Governor, Mike Easley, signed, sealed in destroying the eugenics law.

N.C. Health and Human Services are required to cooperate with the Task Force. North Carolina Justice for Sterilization for Victims Foundation and Department of Administration will supply services to the Task Force. There will be no per diem allowances and "necessary travel and subsistence expenses" are expected to follow State law according to the Order.

EO: 83 expires on July 1, 2012.

In the late-1800s the discovery of tying tubes and the Vasectomy opened the doors. Sir Francis Galton founded eugenics in 1883. A practice not as popular now as it used to be over a century ago. The four sterilization forms of past Board approval included vasectomy, castration, salpingectomy, and ovariectomy.

If you believe you were a victim of the North Carolina Eugenics Board program between the years of 1929 and 1974 contact the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation's Information Line at 1(877)-550-6013 or (919)-807-4270. N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation is located at 1330 Mail Service Center in Raleigh, NC.

With the latest Executive Order sterilized victims of the North Carolina Eugenics Board are one step closer to closure, compensation, and counseling. Closure, they could use. Compensation, long overdue. Counseling, well, it may be a little too late for that.

You can bet a life on it!

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