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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina may not compensate victims of a forced sterilization program after all. Though a bill passed through the state House last week, money for eugenics victims is not in the state Senate’s budget. By not including eugenics payouts in the Senate’s budget, the $50,000 for victims may no longer be possible.

Elnora Mills was sterilized at age 16. She says it happened after having a nervous breakdown. Two years later she found out. She had just married and was trying to have children, when a doctor told her. Now she’s 61, with no children and no grandchildren, just her loving husband by her side.

Mills is one of about 7,600 victims, many who were poor, under-educated, sick or disabled. Many were never even given a choice.

“I wanted a boy and a girl. Now I don’t have that and I don’t have no grandchildren. Just two little baby dogs and my husband,” Mills says.

Some made it clear that the state shouldn’t have to fork over the money. According to a tweet from WRAL-TV in Raleigh, Sen. Don East (R-Surry County) said, “You can’t rewrite history. I’m sorry, I had nothing to do with that. A few dollars ain’t gonna change nothing.”

“I got kind of upset about [what he said]. How would he feel if his wife couldn’t have children, what if his daughter couldn’t have children,” Mills says.

With or without the money, nothing can take back a life of wondering what if.

“It’s not going to cover what they did to me. They ruined my life forever,” she says.

When she found out the Senate had not included the compensation in its budget, Mills says she felt like the state has let her down once again.

“They don’t consider about us,” Mills says. “What they did to us, the state. They just don’t care.”

A task force has reported that up to 2,000 victims may still be alive in North Carolina.

Comment on this Story

  • GuestAboutTown


    Isn’t there a prohibition against racist attacks in this board’s terms of service? As you see in the thread a guest poster called “tweety12” was engaged in civil and articulate argument on this topic making only a passing reference to race.

    As has happened in the past, there are folks who register guest names and post hostile and ridiculous thoughts on this board. This is a prime example. Why don’t you consider registration of all posters subject to an e-mail verification? It will go a long way toward eliminating insulting garbage along with the cynical cruelty inherent in the writings of some of this board’s participants.

    Do you really think that this feigned Ebonics drivel is within your terms of service?

  • tweety12

    wway this is the second time you all have let some jacka@@@s use my user name to make comments first with tweety now with tweety12.to the person that used it again you are and always will be a jacka@@@s.Talks wway.i will be signing off now.

  • GuestReality

    The parents agreed to the sterilization. It wouldn’t have been done without their permission. Maybe they should sue their parents.

  • GuestReality

    Naaaaahhhhh. Das can take it. She’s a big girl.

  • You might want to check into this State plan a little closer.

  • Guest123

    Seems at age 16 her parents would have had to give consent for this to be done to her. nervous breakdown at age 16??? The people they did this operation on were not mentally able to say if they wanted it or not, In that case how cold any of them raise a child? at the time it was best for them since they were so mentally impaired.
    right or wrong decision, they don’t need to be paid cash for it at this late date in their lives.
    Their are plenty of children out there needing homes and love because of disfunctional parents. IF qualified these people should adopt a child in need instead of whine about not having kids or grands. They had other options in life.
    Plus she lives in Leland.

  • Guest2020

    I think you may have been a little too harsh to Das Weibstück. Maybe he/she just wanted to know the justification for the woman to have been sterilized.

  • GuestUSMC

    Out comes the race card. Seems to me that this was a good, common sense program that saved the taxpayers millions. When people are not capable of making a prudent decision, or do something just for financial gain (welfare babies) sometimes someone else should make the decision for them to help protect those whose pockets the dollars will come from.

  • tweety12

    You to are missing the point or just don’t want to see it this was forced on them.Take a long walk on the beach and see if you would like this to be forced on you for some reason.For conversation only don’t know you(you could be a man)say you were a bad child in school and in middle school no change now the government say we are going to do this to you how would you feel.

  • because I am a proud to be African amerikan man i can done play with the race card. in the seventys they sterolized all the black womans so that we could not have many blacks in the world. the wite poeple were afraid because black poeples were to smart and they might be smarter. poeples should not be afraid of smarts. we can help the worlds if we just work with all togethers.

  • tweety12

    You know WWay Staff i did submit a statement on this topic i didn’t see it. Started thinking in order to submit a comment it says that you have to have an email address.Now since someone has submitted a comment using my information it must be someone on your staff so i need to make a phone call or two to see whats going on and i really hope that it is not some one on your staff,because i am quite sure that it is something i can do about that.

  • Guest CommonTater

    want children then you don’t have the same argument as a person who really, really does. You can’t wear those shoes. Since it’s not a “want” of yours it makes it easy for you to think it out but you can bet the farm that mot everything in life is comprised of a rational thought process…

  • Das Weibstück

    Why was this woman sterilized? Does she have some disorder?

  • Guest2020

    The article states that it was done when she was 16 after she suffered a nervous breakdown.

  • tweety12

    Does it matter if she had a disorder someone decided to play god and stop this woman from having children.Should this be done to a women if she gave birth to a child that had a learning disorder? Kids are born into this world that have problems regards of race.

  • tweety12

    should we do this to children with autism or to the parents that had them?

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    I am not saying that forced sterilization is the answer, but if I knew that the likelihood of passing on a genetic disorder was high for myself, I would never have children. Granted I don’t want children anyway, but still…that would certainly seal the deal. It just makes sense…why bring a child into the world who will have so much riding against them and likely be a drain on myself and society at large. It’s a hard life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone…

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    but do we want people with mental disabilities having children? Passing birth defects on to future children, causing problems for them? I’m not saying that this was the answer, or that this was the case for Mills, but in general I would think it’s a good idea for some to not have children. Furthermore, I do NOT think they should be compensated. Why should my tax dollars pay for reparations…this sets a bad precedent. Now anytime the state does something that others disagree with down the road…tax dollars will be used to “make amends.”

  • Guest9743

    Sometimes families WITHOUT a mental disability may have a child with downs syndrome or some other birth defect….are you saying they should be sterilized to prevent them from possibly having another child? Maybe you should try having a conversation with someone who has a child with a birth defect and tell them they should be sterilized and see how well that’ll work out for you!!!!

  • Citizen of the Republic

    Is it possible for these people that have been sterilized to SUE former members of the NC State Government for damages?

    Can former representatives be held responsible legally for these actions either in a class action or individual lawsuit.

    The former members were probably all LAWYERS or doctors, which means there are “deep pockets” for restitution available.

    If the State won’t pay, go after the members of state govt who allowed it individually, if it’s possible. These actions are so outside the permissible rights and responsibilities of Government that it should not be shielded by immunity of state officials.

    There may be settlements instead of a full trial and negative publicity.

  • cintrek

    Years ago the state, & others, did this to people with social/developmental disabilities. They didn’t believe that certain people should get pregnant & raise children. I do believe they should be compensated for this because usually the individual had no clue what was being done & usually no choice-this the land of the free. I’ve worked in mental health & I know of many who make terrific parents. Some much better than “normal” people.

  • Elnora Mills parents signed their consent for the procedure. Let her look to them for her 50K. No reparations from NC. should be considered.

  • Guest 4545

    Regardless of which political party is in power the easy answer for politicians is to throw money (tax payer’s money) at the problem and hope that the problem goes away.
    This process has never worked. At some point this practice has got to end.

  • Das Weibstück

    The info wasn’t available when I posted the question.

  • Guest000000

    How about the anti-abortion folks. Seems like most of them are ok with sterilization to prevent someone who was deemed unfit from becoming a parent, but abortion should be stopped? Cant have it both ways people.

  • Guest000000

    “A few dollars a’int gonna change nothing.” Sounds like you’ve been to the Charles Warren “Speechifyin’ for Public Office” Seminar. Your constituents should be proud. As a former Surry County resident I know I am!

  • Guest61246

    Autistic individuals should not have children.

  • Das Weibstück

    If this woman was sterilized at 16, didn’t her parents have to sign a consent form? If so this is NOT forced sterilization. If this lady had/has “nerve problems” resulting in a breakdown at such a young age perhaps her parents knew what was best at the time.


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