Rossi Soft on Abortion? Not by the Record

He's keeping mum on the subject now. But in the state Senate, he promoted what would have been a ban.

After last week's primary, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi brushed off demands by losing GOP candidate Clint Didier that he take a stronger stand against abortion in order to get the Tea Party–backed farmer's endorsement. Rossi has been steering clear of abortion generally, and does not even address the subject on the "Issues" page of his website. But the anti-abortion crowd may actually have little to worry about with Rossi, based on his record in the state legislature. Turns out the onetime state senator sponsored a bill that, if passed, could have effectively outlawed abortions in this state. In 2000, Rossi and nine other senators proposed adding unborn children to the state constitution's definition of a person. That would have meant that fetuses could not be "deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process." The bill died in committee. In 1998, when a parental notification bill made it to the Senate floor, Rossi joined his fellow Republicans in voting it through. The bill never made it to a vote in the House. While there hasn't been abortion-specific legislation before Congress since the so-called partial-birth abortion ban was passed in 2003 (on which Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both voted no), abortion frequently comes up as bills on other topics are negotiated. In order to pass the health-care reform bill earlier this year, for instance, President Barack Obama signed an executive order saying federal money may not be used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman's life is in danger. Bothell pastor Joe Fuiten, a former president of Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government, came to Rossi's defense last week in light of the Didier camp's criticism. "Dino Rossi was always to be counted on in the pro-life concerns," he told, a site for the anti-abortion community. Turns out that's pretty accurate.

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