Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s (D-VA) GOP challenger, Yesli Vega, suggested that it was unlikely that a person would become pregnant after being raped when asked about it at a campaign stop last month, according to audio obtained by Axios on Monday.
In the audio, which predates the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade last week, Vega is asked about her thoughts on what Congress should do if the Court deals a blow to abortion.
Vega praises state-level restrictions to abortion access before imagining an exchange with a Democratic interlocutor who asks her to defend those restrictions.
“The left will say, ‘Well what about in cases of rape or incest?’ Vega said.
Vega, a former police officer who serves as Prince William County Supervisor, claimed that she has only seen one instance of a woman becoming pregnant as a result of rape during her career in law enforcement.
“I’m a law enforcement officer. I became a police officer in 2011,” Vega said. “I’ve worked one case where as a result of a rape, the young woman became pregnant.”
An unidentified person at the event then claims that they had heard that it’s more difficult for a woman to get pregnant if she’s been raped.
Asked whether she has ever heard of the notion, Vega said it wouldn’t “surprise” her if that were the case because, in her words, rape is “forcing it.”
“Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body. I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies,” Vega said. “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.”
After the unidentified person added “because the body shuts down in some way,” Vega said she agreed with that.
“The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly — it’s not like, you know — and so I can see why there is maybe truth to that. It’s unfortunate,” Vega continued.
Asked by Axios for comment on her remarks, Vega simply noted that she is a mother of two who is “fully aware of how women get pregnant.” According to Axios, Vega’s campaign did not dispute the audio’s authenticity.
TPM reached out to Vega’s campaign for comment.
Vega won the GOP primary last week with endorsements from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and conservative activist Ginni Thomas, who is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The swing district in which Vega is challenging Spanberger will play a role in deciding whether Democrats’ retain their slim majority in the House next year.