A North Carolina task force on Wednesday started considering how best to compensate people who state officials ordered sterilized decades ago after deciding they were unfit to have children.
More than 7,600 people were sterilized by choice or coercion under the authority of the North Carolina Eugenics Board from 1933 to 1973. Nearly 3,000 may still be alive.
In 2002, then-Gov. Mike Easley apologized for the state's role in the sterilizations, but efforts to help victims have been slow due to financial constraints and political obstacles.
The task force created by Gov. Beverly Perdue in March and meeting for the first time Wednesday will recommend how to compensate those people and whether it makes sense to try to find them so that restitution can be offered.
"This was an ugly chapter in North Carolina's history," said Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who has been at the forefront of efforts to provide restitution to those sterilized. "Those people that are left, they're depending on you and you can't let them down for justice to be served."