Plaintiffs for a series of lawsuits filed against the government over forced sterilization operations under a now-defunct eugenic protection law spoke out about their decades of agony Wednesday in a Supreme Court hearing.

The court is hearing five cases of appeal against the rulings of lower courts across the nation. The plaintiffs had sued the government for compensation over their forced sterilization due to their disabilities.

That the Supreme Court is hearing the appeals has led to some optimism that a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs might emerge later this year.