GOP House nominee Yesli Vega repeats lie that rape almost never results in pregnancy

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Virginia Republican Yesli Vega also claimed without evidence that women who have abortions 'suffer so much.'

Virginia Republican House nominee Yesli Vega claimed last month that there was no need for abortion bans to include a rape exception because rapes almost never lead to pregnancies.

According to an audio recording published on Monday by Axios, Vega, a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, was asked at a campaign event about her views on abortion bans. The comments were made before the Republican majority on the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion rights with its 6-3 decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

In the recording, Vega endorses state abortion bans, noting, "Now, 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. And it's my job, No. 1, as a believer, right? To give you all of the resources available. If you decide to deviate and do something else, we don't stop loving you. That's when you need even more support, right, because of the data that we have, it's been proven that women that do move forward with an abortion, they suffer so much, right?"

An unidentified person then says, "I've actually heard that it's harder for a woman to get pregnant if she's been raped. Have you heard that?"

Vega answered, "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 other person says, "That the body shuts down in some way," after which Vega continues, "Yeah, yeah, and then the individual, the male, is doing it as quickly — it's not like, you know — and so I can see why maybe there's truth to it."

Axios reported that Vega had said she would oppose abortions except in "rare instances where the life of the mother is at risk, and doctors have taken every measure to save the lives of both the mother and her unborn child."

Vega tweeted after the decision in Dobbs was released, "What a historic moment in the making. An amazing victory in the fight for the life and Liberty of our most vulnerable, the unborn" and released an official statement in which she said that her Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger, "has always sided with radical liberals like Ralph Northam to create an abortion pipeline primarily in minority communities."

According to actual data, many rapes do result in pregnancies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 3 million of the 18 million women in the United States who have been a victim of vaginal rape have experienced a rape-related pregnancy over the last 20 years.

Vega's comments recall remarks made by former Rep. Todd Akin during his unsuccessful run as the Republican nominee in Missouri for a Senate seat in 2012.

"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akins said during an appearance on a St. Louis television station when he was asked about his opposition to abortion rights in rape cases. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."

Reports debunking Akins' claims appeared in the aftermath of his comments. CNN reported in August 2012 on a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1996 that found "32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. ... Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence."

"That's part of the broad theme here of misogyny — that women are responsible for being raped; they brought it on themselves through their provocative behavior or clothing," Dr. David Grimes, then a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, told CNN in response to Akins' comments. "Then, on top of that, should they be raped — and if they get pregnant — that, too, is their fault. It's a double whammy. It's cruel beyond words."

Last September, incumbent Democratic Rep. Spanberger voted for the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify the right to abortion. It passed in the House, but has been blocked in the Senate by every Republican and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

On Monday, Spanberger tweeted, "The Court's decision could have far-reaching consequences for the rights to privacy, contraception, and same-sex marriage. My opponent's support for government mandated pregnancies is far too extreme and out of touch with Virginians."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.