After being asked at an event whether it’s harder for someone to get pregnant after rape, Yesli Vega replied, “It wouldn’t surprise me.”
In 2012, Republican congressman Todd Akin introduced the world to the concept of “legitimate rape,” in which he claimed that when a person is actually, truly sexually assaulted, they won’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
A decade later, Republican congressional candidate Yesli Vega is bringing back the concept. While campaigning across Virginia last month in her bid to unseat incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Vega was asked if she believed it is harder for a woman to get pregnant if she has been raped. According to Axios, which obtained audio of the incident, Vega first responded by saying, “Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body,” then hemmed and hawed a little, saying that she hadn’t “seen any studies” about that. But she ultimately landed near agreement: “It wouldn’t surprise me,” she said. “Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it.”
Vega also reasoned that it must be true that people don’t get pregnant easily after experiencing a rape because during her time as a police officer, “I’ve worked one case where as a result of a rape, the young woman became pregnant.”
Axios asked Vega about the comments, to which she responded, “I’m a mother of two, I’m fully aware of how women get pregnant.” Which ... presumably she knows how she got pregnant, but let’s not extend her understanding much past that. (Axios also noted that Vega’s campaign “did not dispute the audio’s authenticity.”)
This is a pretty fucked up thing to need to clarify, but here we are: Rape is not any less likely to result in pregnancy than consensual sex. There actually are studies that back this up, which exist because people keep saying nonsense about rape and pregnancy. Not that Vega would know that, I guess.