Home 2022 Elections MEMO: Yesli Vega’s Anti-Abortion Record Explained

MEMO: Yesli Vega’s Anti-Abortion Record Explained

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From Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07)’s reelection campaign:

To: Interested Parties

From: Justin Chermol, Abigail Spanberger for Congress Press Secretary

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2022 

Subject: Yesli Vega’s Anti-Abortion Record Explained

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization could have far-reaching consequences in the Commonwealth. On Sunday night, State Sen. Amanda Chase announced her plan to introduce the Life at Conception Act in the upcoming legislative session. Sen. Chase’s Life at Conception Act mirrors a federal bill –  introduced by U.S. Rep. Bob Good (R-VA-05) – which would enact a nationwide ban on abortion with no exceptions.

Yesli Vega pledged to support and cosponsor the Life at Conception Act if elected to Congress. In a survey submitted to the National Pro-Life Alliace, Vega – who in the past has doubted whether women can get pregnant from rape – stated cleary she supports a nationwide ban on abortion with no exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7) is the only pro-choice candidate in Virginia’s Seventh District.

Abigail has always been a fervent supporter of a woman’s right to choose. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Spanberger joined a majority of her colleagues in the U.S. House to protect a woman’s right to choose and to defend same-sex marriage, access to contraception, and interstate travel for reproductive care.

A local Virginia news station summed up Vega’s positions best: “Vega, a far-right candidate who is notoriously anti-abortion, saying in that recording that only God can decide the life of a mother.”

WHAT VEGA HAS SAID

HEADLINE: Spanberger responds to Vega denying comments about rape and pregnancy [CBS19, 10/26/2022]

HEADLINE:: Abortion, economy electrify contest between Spanberger, Vega [Washington Post, 09/28/2022]

After NBC4 Washington recently reported that Yesli Vega said she would support and cosponsor the Life at Conception Act –  a bill introduced in May 2021 that would outlaw all abortions with no exceptions – Vega told the Washington Post on Wednesday that she “never read” the bill.

“[Vega] demurred on elaborating on her positions on specific abortion policies. Asked whether she would support […] the Life at Conception Act, extending equal protection to fetuses, Vega said she was not familiar with the bill[.] She noted too many members of Congress make the mistake of talking about supporting legislation without doing their homework or due diligence.”

“‘I’ve never read them, I don’t know what all of them say, so I’m not going to give you a response because I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ she said. ‘I’m going to have to look at these once I get there. I’ve been very direct in terms of where I stand on this issue. I believe in the sanctity of life, and that most Americans believe in the sanctity of life.’”

QUESTIONNAIRE: After earning the endorsement from the National Pro-Life Alliance earlier this year, Yesli Vega told her supporters in a fundraising email that she answered the survey “100% in support of life.” [NBC4 Washington, 09/14/2022]

Question 9 of the survey asks for support and cosponsorship of the Life at Conception Act – a bill introduced in May 2021 that would outlaw all abortions with no exceptions. Vega agrees to support a law that defines life at the moment of conception – thereby banning a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion even in cases where her life is threatened.

Question 10 of the survey asks for support of an amendment to the U.S. Constition to ban abortion. Vega agrees to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning abortions – meaning, Vega would support government-mandated pregnancies and a total nationwide ban on abortions.

TELEVISION INTERVIEW: “I am a pro-life candidate. I will always stand and defend life, the most vulnerable in the womb. And for me it’s very important for people to understand where my heart is when it comes to that issue. I believe also in protecting women and ensuring that they have all the resources they need,” Vega told EWTN Nightly News. [EWTN, 08/22/22]

HEADLINE: Yesli Vega questions whether liberal states’ abortion laws are ‘acceptable’ [VPM, 08/04/22]

“In the recording obtained exclusively by VPM News, Vega speaks to an unidentified questioner at a May 21 event in Spotsylvania County … ‘And then you have the other liberal states where they’re gonna have a free-for-all at taking innocent life, and that’s where we have to step in and say What is acceptable and what is not?’ Vega said in the audio. ‘And in my opinion, I’m sorry, look, God is a giver of life, right, and therefore God takes life.’” [VPM, 08/04/22]

FUNDRAISING POST: “Yesli Vega is pro-life.” // “Yesli believes that Roe v. Wade being overturned is a HUGE pro-life victory.” // “And, when in Congress, Yesli will ALWAYS stand for life.” [Team Vega, 08/01/22]

FUNDRAISING POST: “Yesli Vega is pro-life.” // “Yesli believes that Roe v. Wade being overturned is a HUGE pro-life victory.” // “And, when in Congress, Yesli will ALWAYS stand for life.” [Team Vega, 07/15/22]

HEADLINE: Republican Congressional Candidate Pulls a Todd Akin on Abortion [New York Magazine, 06/28/22]

HEADLINE: G.O.P. House Candidate Falsely Suggests Pregnancy From Rape Is Unlikely [New York Times, 06/27/22]

HEADLINE: GOP House Candidate Doubts Likelihood of Pregnancy After Rape [Rolling Stone, 06/27/22]

HEADLINE: Spanberger’s rival questions on tape whether pregnancy less likely after rape [Washington Post, 06/27/22]

HEADLINE: Republican Yesli Vega Slammed for Doubting Women Get Pregnant From Rape [Newsweek, 06/27/22]

HEADLINE: Scoop: Spanberger rival Yesli Vega doubts pregnancy after rape [Axios, 06/27/22]

“Asked for comment on her remarks, which have not previously been reported, Vega told Axios in a statement, ‘I’m a mother of two, I’m fully aware of how women get pregnant.’” [Axios, 06/27/22]

QUESTIONNAIRE: Vega says she supports “a law to protect innocent life from conception to natural death.” [Prince William & Manassas Family Alliance, 06/21/22]

RADIO INTERVIEW: “I am 100% pro-life, and I believe all life is sacred from the moment of conception. I was talking to a young group of volunteers, and one of the things I tell these young folks fighting for these things is you have to be knowledgeable when it comes to the issue. You have one side that is pushing a narrative, and we have to come back from a place of love and facts.” [Town Talk, 05/09/22]

SOCIAL MEDIA: “What a historic moment in the making. An amazing victory in the fight for the life and Liberty of our most vulnerable, the unborn.” [Twitter, 05/09/22]

SOCIAL MEDIA: Vega poses in photo with picture of woman outside March for Life rally who wears shirt that says “Respect Life from the Womb to the Tomb” [Twitter, 04/27/22]

SOCIAL MEDIA: Vega posts a video on her social media saying, “Good morning, everyone, and set up is underway here in Richmond for the March for Life. We must always protect the most vulnerable among us, and that includes those in the womb. You know that I will always stand up for the unborn and vote for measures that safeguard and protect life, and together, we will be the pro-life generation. See you all soon.” [Facebook, 4/27/22]

CANDIDATE FORUM: “I am a huge advocate for the defenseless and the voiceless and that is the unborn. When it comes to defending the unborn, that is an issue I will not move on.” [GOP Primary Candidate Forum, 04/20/22]

CANDIDATE FORUM: “I am 100% pro life as well, but I believe that it goes a bit deeper. It comes down to how we convey the message and educate people. When you talk to people who they think they are pro-choice and you ask them why, they really have no idea. Let’s talk about the Texas bill, a lot of people don’t know what that bill is about. The bill says that if you detect a heartbeat then you can not abort the child and I can’t tell you how many women on the left that I have encountered who thought they were pro choice, but once they were educated their minds were completely changed. Yes life begins at conception and we will always advocate and defend the most vulnerable in society, but our job doesn’t end there, it goes deeper. We must educate people because that is the only way we will change minds and hearts and show that their actions are in fact straight up evil.” [GOP Primary Candidate Forum, 02/27/22]

QUESTIONNAIRE: Vega says she “supports” proposals to “protect life from the moment of conception until natural death” [Prince William & Manassas Family Alliance, 03/25/19]

VEGA REFUSES TO ANSWER PRESS QUESTIONS 

“Ms. Vega also made news earlier this summer when, in response to a question about state-level abortion restrictions, she responded by questioning a woman’s ability to get pregnant following a rape. Ms. Vega and her campaign did not respond to the Monitor’s repeated requests for comment.” [Christian Science Monitor, 08/15/22]

“Vega—who has spoken little to the press and not responded to emails or phone calls from The Free Lance–Star—has now twice expressed abortion positions that are both grossly uninformed and steeped in Christian nationalism. … Not only is Vega dangerously uninformed about rape and its consequences, she is making clear what other extremists are now pushing—a total nationwide ban on abortion in the U.S.” [Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 08/09/22]

“The campaign did not dispute the authenticity of the recording. They also didn’t directly respond to questions about the recording or whether Vega supports exceptions for abortions in the case of rape or incest.” [VPM, 08/04/22]

“Cao, Kiggans and Vega have not always been clear about their positions on specific policies and did not respond to questions about how they would vote on certain abortion proposals, restrictions or bans if elected, including whether they support exceptions to abortion bans for rape, incest or protecting the life of the mother.” [Washington Post, 07/29/22]

“Identifying as pro-life on her website, Ms. Vega celebrated the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, tweeting a statement that she’s “glad [the issue of abortion is] returning to the state where we have a pro-life Governor at the helm.” Beyond that, she has not shared specifics. … She hasn’t answered questions from multiple news outlets about whether she’d support a nationwide ban. She didn’t respond to our inquiries.” [Washington Post Editorial Board, 07/02/22]

“GOP nominee for Congress declines to say whether abortion bans should include exceptions for rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancies” [Prince William Times, 06/28/22]

FAR-RIGHT, ANTI-ABORTION ENDORSEMENTS

SBA LIST: Vega welcomes the endorsement from the Susan B. Anthony List – a fervently anti-choice group – whose mission is to “end abortion.” The SBA List opposes abortion exceptions for rape and incest and opposes a woman’s right to access IUDs and the morning-after pill. [Twitter, 09/01/22]

EAGLE FORUM: Vega welcomes the endorsement from the pro-life group Eagle Forum. A state-leader of the Eagle Forum told a morning TV show she does not support abortion exceptions in cases of rape. [Press Release, 06/16/22]

BOB GOOD: Vega is endorsed by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA-5). After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Rep. Good called for an abortion ban in Virginia. [Press Release, 06/03/22]

GINNI THOMAS: Vega is endorsed by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It’s been revealed that Ginni Thomas been found to have ties to more than half the anti-abortion groups that lobbied the U.S. Supreme Court — and her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas — before they overturned the landmark abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade. [Washington Post, 04/12/22]

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