Press Release

McHenry Eugenics Compensation Legislation Passes House

H.R. 2949, first introduced in July of 2015, is combined with H.R. 5210

Last night, the House passed Congressman Patrick McHenry's (R, NC-10) eugenics compensation legislation, H.R. 2949 the Treatment of Certain Payments in Eugenics Compensation Act, as part of a larger bill, H.R. 5210, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act. H.R. 5210 passed the House by a voice vote. 

“North Carolina’s eugenics program is a sad part of the history of our great state,” said Congressman McHenry. “While we can never fully compensate the victims for the pain they suffered at the hands of the state, this bipartisan bill will at least ensure they are not further penalized for accepting compensation payments they deserve.”

H.R. 2949 was included with H.R. 5210 when it passed the House. H.R. 5210 was introduced by Congressman Tom Price (R, GA-06). You can learn more about that bill here.  


During the early decades of the 20th century, over 30 states implemented eugenics or compulsory sterilization laws which led to the mandated sterilization of more than 60,000 citizens. Those sterilized were overwhelming poor and were often unaware they were being victimized. At the time, North Carolina was known to have one of the most aggressive sterilization programs, with only two states having been known to sterilize more of their citizens. 

In 2013, North Carolina passed legislation becoming the first state to compensate victims of forced sterilization. This legislation set aside $10 million in the state budget to compensate victims of the state's eugenics program. As of the beginning of 2015, more than 200 victims have been awarded approximately $20,000 each in compensation.  

H.R. 2949 was introduced to further assist victims of these programs by ensuring the payments victims receive do not count towards their eligibility for, or amount of, any benefits they receive from the Federal government. This includes Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), unemployment, Supplemental Security Income, and any other Federal benefits. 

H.R. 2949's companion legislation in the Senate, S. 1698, which was introduced by North Carolina Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr passed that chamber by unanimous consent on November 30, 2015. You can read more about its passage here.