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California to pay victims of forced, coerced sterilizations

California Sterilization Reparations
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 14:29:03-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have approved reparations for people who were either forcibly or coercively sterilized by the state. A new budget that's awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature includes $7.5 million for the program.

Lawmakers who support the payments said the goal is to pay victims $25,000 each. North Carolina and Virginia also have approved reparations for forced sterilization victims in recent years.

California's program began in 1909 and lasted until 1979. It forcibly sterilized 20,000 people with mental illnesses, physical disabilities and other traits deemed undesirable.

A state audit in 2014 also found 144 women were sterilized in prison between 2005 and 2013.

Auditors found California didn't obtain proper consent in 39 cases.