A section of a cemetery near Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., goes by two words — “Baby Heaven.”

It includes children, some just infants, who never got to live full lives.

What You Need To Know

  • The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is included in the PACT Act signed Wednesday by President Joe Biden

  • People sickened by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can now sue the federal government

  • The federal government has acknowledged that contaminated water caused illnesses including cancer and Parkinson's disease

Their lives were cut short because of water that was toxic.

Audrey Williams-Pride moved to Camp Lejeune in the 1980s when her husband served there. She had no idea the water they used for drinking and bathing was contaminated.

The federal government has acknowledged the toxic water, on the base for decades, caused everything from cancer to Parkinson’s disease.

Williams-Pride didn’t get sick, but her son, William James Morris III, never saw life.

She had a stillbirth in the 1980s.

“I contemplated suicide because I just felt like it was something I did… I couldn’t understand why my baby didn’t make it,” Williams-Pride said.

It wasn’t until decades later when she drew the connection to Camp Lejeune’s lethal water.

“The federal government caused thousands of people to die because their ineptitude and their unwillingness to admit what happened,” said attorney Ed Bell.

Prior to the PACT Act, the law restricted Camp Lejeune victims from suing the federal government.

Bell has worked with people affected by the toxic water for 15 years. He worked to change the law by lobbying Congress and helping write legislation.

It became known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in the PACT Act on Wednesday.

The Camp Lejeune victims and their families will now get their day in court, creating a legal situation that is in uncharted waters.

Thousands of people will likely take legal action.

“It’s very unusual. It’s the first time in U.S. history that something like this has been done,” Bell said.

Williams-Pride is now pursuing legal action over the pain she and other parents, who never got to the see their children grow up, endure.

“It’s been 36 years, my child would have been 36 years old this year, and I didn’t think I would see them acknowledge anything. They finally acknowledged they did something wrong,” Williams-Pride said.