Victims of Sterilization in Virginia Hoping to Get Compensation - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Victims of Sterilization in Virginia Hoping to Get Compensation

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Lewis Reynolds served in the United States Marine Corps for 30 years. His photos are keepsakes that he now cherishes dearly but won't be passing on.

"I cry sometimes now 'cause I didn't have a family," Reynolds says.

Reynolds was one of thousands of children who were labeled "unfit" to reproduce. This included being poor, or in his case, "mentally defective" after suffering seizures from being hit in the head with a rock.

Under the 1924 Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act, children like Reynolds were taken to hospitals to undergo surgery.

The peak of the eugenics movement happened between 1924 to 1948 with a total of 5,380 people who got sterilized across the state. Because of the time frame, many of those people aren't alive today but those who are hoping to get a fraction back of what was taken from them.

Mark Bolds of the Christian Law Institute worked to help North Carolina pay the victims of sterilization and hoping that it'll push the commonwealth to do the same.

"We knew once one state pulled the trigger other states would follow," Bold says.

Based on North Carolina's figure, each living victim would receive $50,000 from the state. Reynolds says the money would help support himself even though it won't erase the past.

"I love kids," Reynolds says. "I wish I had some."

Reynolds hopes that the state's leaders will pay back a debt that some of them have been waiting for nearly a century to receive.

If you were one of the victims of sterilization in Virginia, you can contact Mark Bold at mbold@clinstitute.org.