Some have suggested $20,000 for a settlement. 57-year-old Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at 14 after becoming pregnant from rape and whose illiterate grandmother signed the consent form with an X on the urging of social workers, has sued the state for $1 million. While her case was appealed to the US Supreme Court, it has refused to hear it.
62-year-old Charles Holt thinks $30,000 might be enough. Sent to a state institution for people with mental and emotional issues after “fighting at school and masturbating openly,” Holt undergoing a vasectomy seems to have been a condition of his being able to leave to begin his adult life. A social worker convinced his mother that he have the surgery, noting that it would protect him “in case he were falsely accused of having fathered a child.”
It takes my breath away to think that, had my teenage son Charlie, who’s on the moderate to severe end of the autism spectrum, lived just half a century earlier, he could have suffered the same fate as Ramirez, Riddick and Holt.
The Winston-Salem Journal has an extensive report about forced sterilizations in North Carolina, including records from the Eugenics Board. Whatever settlements the state of North Carolina decides on, I don’t think it can ever be enough truly to compensate for the pain, suffering and inhumane treatment experiencing by too, too many.
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