Rossi's campaign said he's been up front about his views on abortion and that Schrier's news conference misrepresented his statement at a debate last week.

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Kim Schrier and abortion-rights advocates are trying to call attention to Dino Rossi’s stance on abortion rights, contending he is trying to downplay an important issue in the midterm elections.

At a news conference at the Issaquah Public Library on Monday, Schrier and her allies pointed to Rossi’s statement at the sole 8th Congressional District debate last week. 

When asked whether he supports legalized abortion, Rossi replied he has “never run on that issue” but acknowledged that as a Catholic he opposes abortion except in case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. He then talked about his support for the mentally ill and Special Olympics.

“Rossi has for years been saying he isn’t running on social issues in an attempt to avoid talking about his extreme positions on women’s rights and equality,” said Tiffany Hankins, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Washington, at the news conference.

Flanked by young women in purple “Pro Choice Washington” T-shirts, Schrier pointed to policies pushed by the Trump administration, including a “gag order” that would prohibit caregivers at clinics receiving family-planning funds from discussing any information about abortion.

“That does not escape a woman doctor,” said Schrier, a longtime Issaquah pediatrician. “There is no role for government in those decisions, just like there is no role for government in any of our medical decisions.”

The effort to highlight abortion rights — an issue Democrats have raised in each of Rossi’s three previous unsuccessful runs for statewide office — comes as both campaigns are trying to motivate supporters to turn in ballots in the key race that could help decide control of the U.S. House.

The Rossi campaign responded that Schrier’s news conference misrepresented his debate statement.

“The Schrier campaign is pretending last week’s debate never happened, when Dino addressed this issue and was up front with his beliefs. Dino has always protected the vulnerable and worked to ensure that we respect the dignity of people at every stage of life,” said the statement from campaign manager Andrew Bell.

Bell also signaled that Republicans will seek to capitalize on some of Schrier’s comments at the recent debate, including her statement that some farmers have put migrant workers in a sort of “indentured servitude.”

“Kim Schrier is trying to change the topic of conversation from her support for tax hikes on Washingtonians and her bizarre attacks on our state’s farmers,” Bell said.