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Woman Sterilized Against Her Will Awaits Reparations

In 1968, Elaine Riddick was sterilized against her will after a c-section to deliver her first and only child. She was just fourteen years old. Now she's fighting to receive compensation as a victim of North Carolina's Eugenics Board, which sterilized thousands of women, disproportionately black, on such grounds as "feeblemindedness."

Riddick's story — told by the AP — is heartbreaking. She was raised in an abusive home in a dangerous neighborhood, and was raped at the age of thirteen. She became pregnant, and the Board evaluated her for sterilization. Despite reports that she did well in school and would "perform more adequately in an improved environment," she was judged "feebleminded." The final doctor's report on her case is chilling:

Because of Elaine's inability to control herself, and her promiscuity — there are community reports of her 'running around' and out late at night unchaperoned, the physician has advised sterilization. This will at least prevent additional children from being born to this girl who cannot care for herself, and can never function in any way as a parent.

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The state of North Carolina apparently judged rape as evidence of promiscuity, and promiscuity as a reason for sterilization — but as Riddick says above, their underlying reason may have been racism. By 1968, 64% of the people recommended for sterilization by the Board were black women and girls. Riddick filed a lawsuit against the Board in 1974 — it was ultimately unsuccessful. But now, a task force has been created to deliver appropriate reparations to Riddick and other sterilization victims. This month, it recommended that North Carolina turn over "lump sum financial damages." Its report said,

For many citizens, it may be hard to justify spending millions when the state is cutting back on other essential services. But the fact is, there never will be a good time to redress these wrongs and the victims have already waited too long.

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The task force will deliver a final report in February — hopefully then Riddick will receive the apology and compensation that are painfully overdue.

Woman Fights For Compensation For Forced Sterilization In 1968 By North Carolina [AP]

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DISCUSSION

katendre
Dré, and now S.T.

Theres a lot here to comment on.

1- The fact that the title of this article has the word reparations really bugs me. TO ME, it seems like adding that word is already trying to imply that her 'quest' is already ridiculous. Mainly because the word reparations is/was used quite often to allude to the emancipation of slaves, who were denied compensation for slavery. Reparations [for slaves] is often viewed as a joke, viewed as ridiculous, viewed as preposterous.

I cant quite grab whether the word is used to down play the article, or to show the series race issue at hand.

2- The fact that money can be used to solve injustices bugs the eyfin hell outta me.

Poor family "The A. Joes" suffer great injustices from company "FATCATS".

FATCATS give money to A. Joes.... problem solved, everyone is happy. Neither party really is getting what they deserve!

3- This reminds me of the Tuskegee Experiment, which has faded away with time. I'm assuming this article will fade away the same, which is sad.

4. Damn, that is kinda heart breaking that such an extreme decision could be made for a 14 year old. That a doctor could literally sign off on that is insane..... However, I ALMOST support the idea that some people shouldnt be allowed to procreate. Like, issue people a license before they can have kids or something. I realize this is a crazy dream, but I know quite a few people I wouldnt trust to take care of a cat, let alone a child