Virginia is set to become the second state to compensate the victims of its eugenics program ‒ people whom the state deemed mentally or physically unfit to procreate and were then forcibly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.
The commonwealth will give $25,000 each “to individuals who were involuntarily sterilized pursuant to the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act and who were living as of February 1, 2015,” according to Virginia’s revised 2014-2016 budget that was passed by the General Assembly at the end of February. A total of $400,000 was set aside for forced sterilization victims, the Virginia Gazette reported.
“$25,000. If I can get that, I’d be pretty happy,” one of Virignia’s confirmed victims, Lewis Reynolds, told RT. “But I would have liked to have got the same amount they got in North Carolina ‒ $50,000.”
Reynolds was an unknowing victim of Virginia’s eugenics program at age 13 after he was hit in the head with a rock and falsely diagnosed with epilepsy as a young boy ‒ he only discovered he had been sterilized after he and his wife were unable to have children.