Sterilization Program

A panel appointed by Governor Easley says North Carolinians involuntarily sterilized by state order should receive counseling, medical benefits and education at the state's expense.

The Eugenics Study Committee didn't decide on Thursday if those who were forcibly sterilized between 1929 and 1974 deserve cash reparations. The committee plans to develop its final recommendations next month.

A tight state budget and the uncertainty about how many involuntary sterilizations were performed has complicated the panel's work.

Easley apologized for the state program in December and later made North Carolina the first in the country to convene a study committee.

More than 7,600 people were sterilized under the direction of the state's eugenics board. Some patients requested sterilizations, but others were performed against the wishes of the victims and their families. Some children as young as ten underwent the operations.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)