The day that Elaine Riddick had her first and only child at the age of 14, the state of North Carolina had her sterilized on the orders of a court. Riddick had been raped but the state said she was promiscuous.
“They said that I was feeble-minded, they said that I was promiscuous,” Riddick, now 57, told CBS News. “I’ve always been able to take care of myself – I’ve never been promiscuous.”
“So how can people use these things to describe a child that had been abandoned? Or that had been raped by the neighbor and then again, raped by the state of North Carolina?”
North Carolina is the first state to consider a $20,000 payment to victims of sterilizations, but it is doubtful that the Republican-controlled legislature will set aside the necessary funds.
CBS News noted that more than 60,000 women in 32 states were sterilized from the 1920’s to the 1970s to keep down welfare costs. The practice is no longer in use.
Watch this video from CBS News, broadcast June 23, 2011.