GOP House Candidate Yesli Vega Doubts A Woman Can Get Pregnant From Rape

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WOODBRIDGE, VA - SEPTEMBER 8: Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega during the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting in Woodbridge, VA on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

Yesli Vega, the Republican nominee running against Democrat Abigail Spanberger for Congress, downplayed the possibility of becoming pregnant as a result of rape when asked about her stance on abortion at a campaign stop last month, according to audio obtained by Axios.

At an event in Stafford County, Vega, a Prince William County supervisor, and sheriff’s deputy, was asked what she thinks Congress should do if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

After expressing support for new state-level restrictions, she said, “The left will say, ‘Well what about in cases of rape or incest?’ I’m a law enforcement officer. I became a police officer in 2011. I’ve worked one case where as a result of a rape, the young woman became pregnant.”

“I’ve actually heard that it’s harder for a woman to get pregnant if she’s been raped. Have you heard that?”

Vega responded: “Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body. I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies. But if I’m processing what you’re saying, it wouldn’t surprise me. Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it. The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly — it’s not like, you know — and so I can see why there is truth to that. It’s unfortunate.”

Asked for comment on her remarks, which have not previously been reported, Vega said in a statement, “I’m a mother of two, I’m fully aware of how women get pregnant.”

The identity of the person asking the questions in the audio is unknown. Vega’s campaign did not dispute the audio’s authenticity to Axios.

Vega has been unabashed in her support for reversing Roe, but her comments suggest her views may be a tough sell in a Democratic-leaning swing district that is expected to be key in deciding control of Congress next year.

“Pro-choice groups see rape and incest exceptions as the canary in the coal mine when it comes to extremism,” Mary Ziegler, a law professor who studies reproductive freedom at Florida State University College of Law, told USA Today. “They argue … if you’re willing to abandon these exceptions, then there’s no saying when you’re going to stop.”

Polling released Sunday suggests a majority of Americans — 59% — disapprove of the decision to overturn Roe.

Nearly 3 million women in the United States have experienced rape-related pregnancy during their lifetime, according to the CDC.