Heartbreak for NC eugenics victim as deadline approaches

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One of the first women to come forward with her story of forced sterilization by the state may not be compensated for the pain she’s endured.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — One of the first women to come forward with her story of forced sterilization by the state may not be compensated for the pain she’s endured.

WTVD-TV reported that Mary Frances English received a letter from the state denying her eugenics claim. It may be because her medical records were lost, or intentionally destroyed.

“All of a sudden, I am back to square one,” said English.

It was not the letter English hoped to get. It was notification that the state would not recognize her claim that she was involuntarily sterilized 42 years ago.

“So, now if there is no evidence of it, then why did it come up in all my medical checks,” asked English.

In 1972, English said her doctor offered to help the young pregnant divorcee with birth control. Three years later she leaned she was sterile

She was one of nearly 8,000 residents sterilized between 1929 and 1973, as part of a state supported eugenics program.

English, who is a former broadcaster, was one of the first women to publically tell her story nearly a decade ago.

Even though she won’t be among eugenics victims compensated by the state, English said she hopes she gave other victims courage to come forward.

“They do not have to feel guilty,” she said. “No more of being ashamed of what happened. It is not your fault. It’s the doctor’s fault. He is the one who played god with our lives.”

English says she is not giving up her fight. She’s appealing the state’s decision, and said someone somewhere knows the truth about her physical and emotional scars.

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