A proposal to compensate victims of state-forced sterilizations failed on Wednesday when North Carolina legislators did not allot any money for the victims in their budget, the Gaston Gazette reported.
The proposal to give each victim $50,000 passed the House, but the Senate never took the measure into consideration.
The Associated Press reported that Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue allotted $10 million in her budget proposal with the support of Republican Speaker of the House Tom Tillis, but could not find the same Republican support in the Senate.
“You just can’t rewrite history. It was a sorry time in this country,” Republican Sen. Don East said last week, AP reported. “I’m so sorry it happened, but throwing money don’t change it, don’t make it go away. It still happened.”
North Carolina forcibly sterilized 7,600 people, including children, until the Eugenics Board of North Carolina was disbanded in 1974, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Democratic Rep. Earline Parmon told the AP that the decision made her ashamed to be a part of the General Assembly.
“I’m appalled that the North Carolina Senate today took no action to compensate the victims that we as a state robbed of their rights to reproduce and to have children,” Parmon said. “At this point, I have lost all hope.”
Elaine Riddick, who has said she was raped, gave birth and sterilized by the state at age 14, said she took legal action in the past but was shot down.
The U.S. Supreme Court has never overruled the decision about compulsory sterilization in the case Buck v. Bell (1927), when Justice Oliver Wendell Homes wrote, “The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
“I will die before I let them get away with this,” Riddick said.