EDITORIAL BOARD: “Vega offers no balance. Just arrogance, ignorance, and an iron fist for anyone who disagrees.”
Richmond, VA – The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star Editorial Board slammed Yesli Vega for her extreme support for a nationwide ban on abortion and government-mandated pregnancies.
Vega, who CBS19 News recently described as a “far-right candidate who is notoriously anti-abortion,” has made national and local headlines since receiving the nod to be the Republican nominee in Virginia’s 7th District for her shocking statements on a woman’s right to choose.
First, Vega applauded the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe as an “amazing victory,” then, Vega doubted the likelihood that women who are raped can become pregnant, and most recently, it was reported that Vega supports a nationwide ban on abortion – even in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. (Vega believes it is God – not a doctor or healthcare provider – to decide whether a mother should live.)
The Free Lance-Star editorial board holds nothing back: “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: Editorial: Vega, Youngkin and political extremism
Virginians owe a debt of gratitude to Gov. Glenn Youngkin and congressional candidate Yesli Vega. On the issue of abortion, these two politicians have made clear the stark line between principled conservatives and the extremists who now control much of the state Republican Party.
Just after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Roe v. Wade, Youngkin outlined his plan to curtail abortion access in Virginia. In a June 24 statement, he stated: “I’m proud to be a pro-life Governor and plan to take every action I can to protect life. The truth is, Virginians want fewer abortions, not more abortions.”
Unlike governors in Texas and Oklahoma, however, who did nothing to stop trigger laws all but outlawing abortion completely, or the governor in Indiana who signed new legislation essentially banning abortion, Youngkin took the position of disallowing abortions after 15 weeks.
Explaining to the Washington Post why he didn’t back a total abortion ban, Youngkin said: “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart. … There is a place we can come together.”
By contrast, 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.
First came her incoherent, rambling statement during an event in Stafford County about rape.
As reported by Axios, when asked if it’s harder for a woman to get pregnant as a result of rape, Vega said:
“Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body. I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies. … It wouldn’t surprise me. Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it. The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly—it’s not like, you know—and so I can see why there is truth to that.”
Anti-abortion politicians have made this claim before, and it’s patently false. In a piece summarizing research on rape and pregnancy rates for Scientific American, Kate Clancy showed that “rape and consensual sex have the same pregnancy rate.”
Then on Aug. 4, VPM released a video of Vega speaking in May to a group in Spotsylvania County about abortion policy. Here’s what she had to say:
“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?’… in my opinion, I’m sorry, look, God is a giver of life, right, and therefore God takes life.”
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.
Two evangelical, anti-abortion Christian politicians. Two very different understandings of democracy.
To Youngkin’s credit, at least for now and on this issue, he recognizes that not all (or even most) Virginians want an abortion ban. As governor, he has a responsibility to find solutions that balance the voices of those who put him into power, and the very large number who do not share his views.
Vega, by contrast, is a Christian nationalist. She not only rejects the opinions of those who disagree with her and her theology, she would disallow the majority of voters in states like Kansas, who overwhelmingly voted to keep abortion, from setting their own policies.
Vega says on her website that “the wisdom of our Founding Fathers has never been more needed.” We agree, and Vega needs to spend considerably more time in their works.
The Founding Fathers, James Madison in particular, were clear about the importance of preserving minority rights, which is the cornerstone of the American Constitution (See Federalist Paper 10). And no legitimate reading of the Constitution places Christianity above any other tradition.
As Christianity continues to shed adherents—it has been in a steep decline since 2007—extremists like Vega, knowing they can’t use reason to convert people, have adopted an authoritarian posture.
On abortion, we commend Youngkin for balancing his religious beliefs with respect for the constitutionally protected views of those who disagree. We would like to see him take the same approach in other policy areas.
Vega offers no balance. Just arrogance, ignorance, and an iron fist for anyone who disagrees.