Virginia Republican House candidate Yesli Vega found herself facing backlash after audio of her suggesting people can't get pregnant during a sexual assault surfaced.
This is not the first time this ignorant misinformation was shared publicly by a Republican politician to justify restrictions on reproductive healthcare, but it may be the first time the false rhetoric was repeated by a Republican woman.
Vega—who campaigned with support from Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and conservative activist Ginni Thomas—was caught on audio making her false claim.
\u201cYesli Vega, the Republican nominee running against Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), downplayed the possibility of becoming pregnant as a result of rape when asked about her stance on abortion at a campaign stop.\n\nhttps://t.co/S9d2snspYf\u201d— Ned Oliver (@Ned Oliver) 1656327699
There is no medical or scientific support for Vega's statement.
At an event in Stafford County, Virginia, Vega was asked about the United States Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade.
Vega stated her support for future reproductive healthcare restrictions in Virginia before adding:
"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."
Vega is a Prince William County supervisor and sheriff's deputy
An unidentified voice then asks:
"I've actually heard that it's harder for a woman to get pregnant if she's been raped. Have you heard that?"
"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."
This is completely false.
Fertility of the parties determines likelihood of pregnancy. People can and do become pregnant during sexual assaults.
Audio of Vega's comments was shared on Twitter by Axios and their Virginia correspondent Ned Oliver.
\u201cAUDIO: Virginia congressional candidate Yesli Vega doubts pregnancy after rape\n\nAxios Richmond's @nedoliver scoops \u27a1\ufe0f https://t.co/jNHVcZ3a9e\u201d— Axios (@Axios) 1656348837
People were appalled Vega would believe and share such ignorance.
\u201cOh, look, the Rep candidate in my district is a science denier. Who could have guessed? \n\nWe must re-elect \u2066@SpanbergerVA07\u2069!!!\n\nAudio: Virginia congressional candidate Yesli Vega doubts pregnancy after rape - Axios Richmond https://t.co/S4IB19T4oL\u201d— Rachel Vindman \ud83c\udf3b (@Rachel Vindman \ud83c\udf3b) 1656337800
\u201cThis woman is running around in law enforcement spewing this kind of crap? She\u2019s a complete disgrace to everyone else wearing that uniform. \n\n https://t.co/o9ePPoDZrS\u201d— L. Louise Lucas (@L. Louise Lucas) 1656337110
\u201cGOP House nominee Yesli Vega is echoing the lie that rape almost never results in pregnancy, despite not "seeing any studies" on the issue.\n\nSo, the actual data: Many rapes DO result in pregnancies. \ud83e\udd26\nhttps://t.co/FU138Et8wr\u201d— The American Independent (@The American Independent) 1656370200
\u201cYesli Vega is an extremist and way out of touch with voters in Virginia and throughout the country. We didn\u2019t fight overseas to have our freedoms taken away here at home by people like Vega. Her comments are outrageous, disgusting and shameful. https://t.co/g2pFFHcjce\u201d— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1656341625
\u201cThe age-old Republican tactic of echoing baseless lies of the past.\n\nHere, Vega's is reviving former Rep. Todd Akin's sentiment: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." \ud83d\ude43 https://t.co/GCDQfQPSJv\u201d— The American Independent (@The American Independent) 1656381001
\u201cYesli Vega, the Republican running against Abigail Spanberger in Virginia, said in an interview that rape victims probably don't need abortions because "there's so much going on in the body" they won't get pregnant. https://t.co/8tyZmqhfwv\u201d— Matthew Chapman (@Matthew Chapman) 1656330973
\u201cYesli Vega GOP for VA07 opposes abortion even for rape. She also believes pregnancy is unlikely in rape because \u201cThe individual, the male, is doing it as quickly\u2014it's not like, you know \u2026\u201d\n\nHuh?\n\n@RepSpanberger will fight for your right to make your own choices!\n\n#Fresh\n#wtpBLUE\u201d— Jennifer Bennon (@Jennifer Bennon) 1656422412
\u201cRepublicans are using the Supreme Court decision to ban all abortions in states across the country -- even in the cases of rape and incest.\n\nAnd now they are saying it's because they...don't believe women can get pregnant from a rape.\n\nhttps://t.co/Y3vczTvANL\u201d— Zac Petkanas \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Zac Petkanas \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udf3b\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1656334548
\u201cYesli Vega with a Todd Akin-esque moment where she talks about rape and pregnancy.\n\nFWIW, this is a problem that a lot of Republican candidates seem prone to running into in the wake of the repeal, especially because they will be asked.\u201d— Lakshya Jain (@Lakshya Jain) 1656334716
Asked for a comment about her misinformation, Vega told Axios in a statement:
"I'm a mother of two, I'm fully aware of how women get pregnant."
Is she sure about that, though?
Her comments clearly indicate otherwise and demonstrate why comprehensive, fact-based sex education is critical.