John Koster, a congressional hopeful for Washington's 1ST District which includes Whatcom County, was recently recorded describing the issue as "the rape thing."
Lynden political analyst Jeremy Lott with Real Clear Politics says Koster could be in trouble with pro-choice voters.
Koster uses the phrase twice in the recording, which was taken by a liberal activist at a fundraiser in Everett Sunday and released to the media.
Lott says the topic of abortion and rape keeps coming up because it's a wedge issue for Republicans.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest told the Associated Press that Koster's choice of words "diminishes" the crime of rape.