Representative Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat locked in a competitive battle for re-election, is releasing a new ad that laces into her opponent’s stance on abortion rights, told from the perspective of a rape survivor.
Ms. Spanberger is running against Yesli Vega, a Republican supervisor and auxiliary deputy with the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office, who falsely suggested in leaked audio this year that pregnancy from rape may be unlikely — a remark that has since become a flash point in the race.
“Yesli Vega said women can’t get pregnant from rape because it’s not happening organically — that made me sick,” says the narrator in the direct-to-camera spot, who identifies herself as Adelle of Prince William County, Va., and says she was raped at age 17. “Yesli Vega would even vote to ban abortion with no exceptions, even for victims of rape. The thought of Yesli Vega in Congress is terrifying.”
Ms. Vega’s team has said she does support some exceptions for abortion.
Ms. Spanberger’s new ad buy, which her campaign said would begin at more than a half-million dollars, underscores that Democrats in highly competitive races continue to see abortion rights as a galvanizing and persuasive issue in the final stretch of the midterm elections after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
They are seeking to cast Republicans as far outside the mainstream on issues like abortion rights and matters of privacy, while some Republicans like Ms. Vega emphasize issues like cost of living and public safety (Ms. Spanberger, a former C.I.A. officer, has also been vocal on issues like combating crime.).
“My opponent has doubted whether women can get pregnant from rape, a notion that denies both science and the experience of far too many survivors of sexual violence,” Ms. Spanberger said in a statement. “In recounting her own experience, Adelle provides a cleareyed assessment of what’s at stake in this election.”
Ms. Vega’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new ad. In a statement over the summer, Ms. Vega said, “as a mother of two children, yes I’m fully aware of how women get pregnant.”
More recently, she told reporters, according to Roll Call, “I am pro-life. I always have been and always will be. As a law enforcement officer, I have stood up for the defenseless, the voiceless, and I will continue to do that in every capacity that I can, and that is my comment.”
The ad is slated to run at least through most of October, Ms. Spanberger’s campaign said.