North Carolina ran an aggressive eugenics program as late as 1977, sterilizing thousands of people to supposedly keep welfare rolls small, reduce poverty, and "improve the gene pool." Though 31 states ran similar programs, North Carolina's was especially aggressive, giving social workers the power to designate people for sterilization, often using I.Q. tests as a criteria. The state is debating how to compensate the estimated 7,600 victims—whether $20,000 per person is enough or whether the state could manage more on its stretched budget.
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