SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — With the release of new information regarding a sterilization program affecting those in Utah institutions from 1925 to 1974, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services has issued an official statement on the matter:

“The Utah Department of Health and Human Services offers our deepest apologies for the loss, anxiety, trauma, and lasting side effects our friends and neighbors have suffered as a result of the state’s past non-consensual sterilization program. Their stories hurt our hearts. We are grateful for the researchers who shared these stories so we have the opportunity to officially apologize to those affected and redouble our commitment to making Utah better and safer for everyone.

Thankfully, the state has come a long way and there are now measures in place to protect people with disabilities. The current services we offer for those with intellectual disabilities focus on making sure a person can live their life as independently as possible — including having the option to marry or have a family if that is what a person wants. When people with disabilities can participate fully in their communities, it betters their lives and strengthens the community as a whole.

We are in the process of trying to identify any individuals still living who underwent these procedures. We plan to issue personal apologies to any individuals we are able to identify. While an apology cannot right the wrongs that were committed, we recognize the importance of acknowledging and understanding this history so we can learn from it and do better both now and in the future.”

According to a study by the University of Utah, at least 830 men, women, and children were victims of the sterilization program on the grounds of eugenics. In the research, it’s been indicated that as many as 54 of these individuals may still be alive today.