Virginia Passes on Paying Sterilization Victims

Proposal would provide payments to those barred by the state from having children.

A building on the grounds of the Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights, Va., formerly known as the Lynchburg Training School and Hospital and the State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Many eugenics-related sterilizations in Virginia took place at the center.

A building on the grounds of the Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights, Va., formerly known as the Lynchburg Training School and Hospital and the State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Many eugenics-related sterilizations in Virginia took place at the center. 

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Virginia lawmakers for the second year in a row have opted not to advance a bill providing restitution to victims of forced sterilization in the state.

The legislation, brought forward by chief sponsors Dels. Patrick Hope, a Democrat, and Bob Marshall, a Republican, called for $50,000 payments for those sterilized under the authority of state law from the early 20th century until about 1980. Many of the operations occurred under the umbrella of eugenics, the idea that the human population can be improved through selective reproduction.

[READ: What Virginia and Nazi Germany Had in Common]

Members of a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee decided by voice vote Wednesday to delay the legislation until 2015. Legislators last year also opted not to move forward with a similar bill.

The News & Advance reports some lawmakers didn't like a plan to set aside $10 million for restitution payments, due to concerns about how many people would claim eligibility for the funds. At least 7,000 people were sterilized in the state, although advocates say only about 10 to 15 victims have come forward.

"I do think it's fair to do this process in a more deliberate fashion," said Del. John O'Bannon, the Republican chairman of the subcommittee, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Marshall reportedly plans to bring the proposal to the full House in the form of a budget amendment.

Some delegates also suggested something still could be done this year.

"This is important, and we are still working on this," O'Bannon said, according to The News & Advance.