A female Republican congressional candidate last month claimed during the campaign in Virginia that rape victims are less likely to get pregnant because “it’s not something that happens organically.”
Yesli Vega made frowning comments as she was asked for her opinion on what then promised to become a Supreme Court decision. overthrow Roe v. Wadeending the federal right to abortion.
An audio recording of the comments, which took place at an event in Stafford County, was published by Axios on Monday. Vega – who is Democrat? Abigail Spanberger’s Congressional rival in Virginia’s liberal-minded 7th district — said she drew on her experience as a Prince William County supervisor and deputy sheriff after confirming she believed in state-level restrictions on abortion.
“The left will say, ‘What about rape or incest?’” Vega can be heard speaking to an unidentified interlocutor in the clip. “I’m a law enforcement officer. In 2011 I became a police officer. I had a case where the young woman became pregnant as a result of a rape.”
Vega was also asked at the event if she had heard that it is “more difficult for a woman to conceive if she has been raped”.
“Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body,” Vega replied. “I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies. But if I’m processing what you’re saying, I wouldn’t be surprised. Because it’s not something that happens organically. You force it. The individual, the man, do it just as fast – it isn’t, you know – and so I can see why there’s truth in that. It’s unfortunate.”
When Axios asked Vega to comment on the comments, she wrote in a statement: “I am a mother of two, I am fully aware of how women get pregnant.” Her campaign did not deny the authenticity of the audio.
Vega played up her law enforcement credentials during her GOP primary race, which she won last week. She has been outspoken in her opposition to roe and received approval from Republican heavyweights, including Senator Ted Cruz and Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who agreed with the court’s decision to overturn it Roe v. Wade on Friday.
Vega’s rape comment echoes the infamous comments of former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, whose Senate race imploded in 2012 when he claimed victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. “The female body has ways of trying to shut that whole thing down,” Akin, who died last year, said in an interview during the race.
According to the CDC, nearly three million women in the US have experienced a rape-related pregnancy in their lifetime. Cases of abortion by rape are rare but account for about 1 percent of all abortions in America. according to the Guttmacher Institutean abortion rights research group.