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Local eugenics victim speaks out

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- They became unwilling victims after their home state deemed them unfit to reproduce. Now 39 years after the Eugenics program ended they are being given a voice inside of the state house.

"I can't understand why did the state do what they did to us," Elnora Mills said. "I don't know why they did it to us."

When Elnora Mills was 16, she says she went to the doctor for appendicitis, and while in surgery doctors performed a eugenics procedure on her. She was unaware that any such procedure had been performed until years later when she and her husband tried to have children.

"When I went to the OBG doctor and I told him we were trying to have children, he examined me and he told me I was sterilized," she said.

Mills was devastated to find out that her dream of having children would never be realized. She says she often wonders how her life could have been different had this procedure not been forced on her.

"I would be happy," Mills said. "I know I would have grandkids and kids, and so it's lonesome."

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) tried to ease her suffering by sponsoring a bill that would give the Eugenics victims a settlement of $50,000, but Elnora says she is skeptical that she or any of the other victims will ever see a dime.

"As long as Thom Goolsby and Bill Rabon (in the Senate) do not pass this bill it's going to go right back down the hill again," Mills said. "In my opinion I think the state is waiting for us to go on and leave this earth because they won't ever pay us."

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