US & Canada

North Carolina passes forced-sterilisation payouts

Elaine Riddick sheds a tear as she talks to the media following the task force meeting 10 January 2012
Image caption Elaine Riddick was not told she was sterilised after giving birth

The US state of North Carolina has adopted a budget that includes $10m (£6.5m) to compensate victims of forced sterilisation.

The payments will depend on how many of the estimated 1,800 victims of the defunct state programme come forward. As of 2012, 168 had done so.

State senate lawmakers initially rejected providing the funds last year.

It is thought about 7,600 people were sterilised in North Carolina from 1929 to 1974. Many were poor black women.

Those sterilised were picked out for such reasons as being deemed promiscuous, or because they were unpopular with schoolmates. Some of the victims were as young as 10.

While many states had sterilisation plans targeted at "feeble-minded" people, North Carolina stands out for having widened its programme after World War II.

One of the most vocal victims of sterilisation, Elaine Riddick, from Atlanta, Georgia, says she was raped and then sterilised after giving birth to a son when she was 14.

"I tip my hat to North Carolina. Finally they came to their senses and decided to do what's right," Ms Riddick told NBC News on Thursday.

But she added that money would not erase the wrong.

"You can't put a price on someone taking your womb or castrating you, it's humiliating," she said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites