Budget Provides Some Compensation for Eugenics Victims

RICHMOND–The Family Foundation of Virginia today expressed support for an amendment approved by budget conferees that would provide compensation to victims of Virginia’s past use of sterilization. “I can think of no greater injustice than a government physically altering a human being without their consent to deny them the right to give life and to have a family simply because that government deems them unfit,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia.  “The legacy of eugenics and forced sterilization in Virginia and precedent it set for atrocities around the globe can never truly be repaired.  And while Virginia has apologized for eugenics, that’s little comfort to those few surviving victims who had their ability to have children taken away from them by an atrocious government act.  We are pleased that the budget conferees included compensation for the surviving victims of forced sterilization.”

The Commonwealth apologized for its eugenics program, where the government of Virginia forced the sterilization of between over 7,000 citizens it deemed unworthy to reproduce. 

There few survivors who have come forward to receive compensation, limiting the financial impact to the state.  The funding provided by the budget conference report is limited to $25,000 per person.  Compensation was supported by The Family Foundation, The Virginia Catholic Conference, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood of Virginia, Virginia Organizing and other diverse organizations

Budget amendments and legislation providing for the compensation were introduced this year by Delegates Patrick Hope (D-47, Arlington) and Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst).

“I am pleased that money has been set aside in the budget to compensate those victims of Virginia’s forced sterilization program,” said Delegate Cline.  “This is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to acknowledge a wrong that was inflicted on innocent Virginians over the course of several decades.  Many thanks to all those who fought for this funding, including Mark Bold, Executive Director of the Christian Law Institute, Delegates John O’Bannon, Bob Marshall, and Patrick Hope, as well as the families and supporters of the many victims of this terrible injustice.”

Delegate Hope said, “Today marks a historic day of justice for Virginia's victims of eugenics sterilization. At long last we can finally move on for this repugnant day in our history and begin the process of healing.”

“While this small amount of money cannot begin to undo the wrong done, it is one way to hold a government accountable for its actions,” added Cobb.  “Hopefully, it will set a new precedent that will help prevent anything like this from ever happening again.”