Spanberger’s rival asks on tape whether pregnancy after rape is less likely

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Yesli Vega — the GOP nominee in Virginia’s 7th congressional district who is vying to unseat Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) — drew outrage the following Monday Audio published by Axios Richmond seemed to get her when, in a conversation about abortion and exceptions to abortion bans, she offered inaccurate theories about why rape might not lead to pregnancy.

Vega’s comments mark perhaps the opening salvo in the role abortion policy will play in the 7th Circuit’s race after the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow it Roe v. calf — a development political analysts have been expecting could give Democratic voters a boost in a mid-election year in which Republicans have claimed much of the momentum.

And Vega’s remarks, said political scientist Stephen Farnsworth, “instantly add fuel to that fire.” Her comments were quickly condemned by Democrats in Virginia and compared to other Republican politicians who shamefully neglected their campaign after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.

Axios released the audio Monday and said it was from a campaign rally in Stafford County last month. The outlet said that An exchange was recorded on tape between Vega, a Prince William County Superintendent, and an unidentified person, who suggested to Vega: “I’ve actually heard that it’s harder for a woman to conceive after she’s been raped. Did you hear that?”

Vega replied, “Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body, I don’t know. I haven’t seen any studies. But if I process what you’re saying, it wouldn’t surprise me because it’s not something that happens organically. Right? You force it.”

The recording published by Axios begins with Vega, a deputy deputy sheriff of Prince William County and former Alexandria Police Officer, drawing on her own anecdotal experiences as law enforcement officers with rape and pregnancy.

“The Left will say, ‘Well, what about rape or incest cases?’ ‘ Vega said, apparently referring to exceptions to abortion bans in those cases. “I’m a law enforcement officer. I became a police officer in 2011. I was working on a case where the young woman became pregnant as a result of being raped.”

Then the unidentified person asked Vega if she had heard that it was harder for rape victims to get pregnant. When Vega explained why she thought that was true, the woman added approvingly, “Exactly. The body kind of shuts down.”

“Yeah yeah. And the individual, the male, does it so fast – it’s not like that, you know – so I can see why maybe there’s some truth to that,” Vega replied.

Rape can and does result in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Remarks that nearly 3 million American women have experienced a rape-related pregnancy, citing a paper from 2018 which conducted the first review and survey of rape-related pregnancies in two decades. Abortions due to rape are rare, according to recent studies Estimate by the Guttmacher Institute that only 1 percent of abortions follow rape, and a 2015 Chicago Poll Of more than 19,000 women in two health clinics that offer abortion, only 1.9 percent had an abortion for rape.

The CDC also notes that only between 5.2 percent and 26 percent of rape victims report their rape, depending on the identity of the perpetrator.

The Washington Post requested an interview with Vega, among other things, to ask questions about her positions on abortion policy in the Post.roe America. She did not agree to an interview and instead sent a statement through a campaign spokesman, which was not touched upon their positions on abortion or their comments.

“Liberals are desperate to distract from their failed agenda of record-high gas and food prices and soaring crime,” she wrote. “For all left-wing bloggers and media: As a mother of two children, I know exactly how women get pregnant.”

She then accused Spanberger of lying, though Vega didn’t say what, calling her position on the abortion “extreme.” A The campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about what Vega was referring to or specific questions about Vega’s positions on a national abortion ban or exceptions to, among other things, rape, incest and a mother’s life-threatening condition.

In a statement to The Post, Spanberger said Vega’s comments in the audio released by Axios were “without truth, shamefully disrespectful to rape victims, and clearly show that she is unqualified to make serious policy decisions on behalf of our Virginia compatriots.”

“I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that women have the right to free choice and the fundamental right to privacy,” said Spanberger.

State Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D), the Senate pro tempore President, in a tweet called Vega “a complete disgrace to everyone else wearing that uniform.” Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Virginia Democratic Party, called Vegas comments “Deeply hateful, offensive and an insult to all rape victims.”

“Vega’s untenable comments have no place in Congress,” Swecker said in a statement. “The contrast between Yesli Vega and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who is a staunch supporter of women’s right to choose and the fundamental right to privacy, could not be clearer.”

Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, expected Democrats to make those comments a key rallying cry against Vega for the remainder of the campaign, especially given last week’s coup roe will “supercharge the Democratic voters”. He called her comments “very damaging” to her prospects in the swing district, which is anchored in Prince William County and the Fredericksburg area, a district won by both President Biden and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R).

Farnsworth and others noted Todd Akin of Missouri’s 2012 Senate campaign fueled after Akin inaccurately claimed that it is “really rare” for pregnancy to occur after rape and that “the female body” is able to “turn off” a “legitimate rape.”

“If Democrats drop this issue by November, they would be guilty of wrongdoing,” Farnsworth said. “Even in a red state like Missouri, a place far more conservative than Virginia’s 7th Circuit, a similar comment was toxic to the Akin campaign.”

Vegas position up roe was clear. She hailed the leaked draft Supreme Court ruling in May and celebrated on Friday when the ruling overturned the constitution Abortion rights have been officially downgraded and she said she is glad the power to decide abortion policy is “returning to the state where we have a pro-life governor at the helm.”

But she hasn’t been so clear about any specific abortion policy she would support. According to Axios, she expressed support for a 15-week ban like the one Youngkin is pushing for, but didn’t directly respond when asked if she would support a nationwide ban.

At an event in May observed by a Post reporter, Vega and several other candidates were asked what they would do about abortion in Congress.

Vega began by agreeing with everything two candidates had said before her. One, Spotsylvania County chief executive David Ross, said he would support a bill declaring that life begins at conception. Crystal Vanuch, the chair of the Stafford County board of directors, said she believes abortion policy should be left to states.

Vega then said that “when you’re talking to people across the aisle about abortion, you need to know what you’re talking about,” before expressing apparent support for the Texas abortion law that banned abortion at six weeks; The state should now ban all abortions.

“If we talk about the Texas bill, what does that bill say and mean that when a heartbeat is detected, what can’t you do? You can’t kill the baby. You can’t,” Vega said. “And most people don’t know that. All they know are general talking points – I don’t want old white men controlling my body. my body my choice Where was that same rhetoric when they were trying to mandate vaccines for us, the people?”

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