Hinson, Mathis debate abortion rights, infrastructure


Gabby Drees and Matt Sindt

Democratic candidate Liz Mathis and U.S. Rep Ashley Hinson speaking at various political events on Sept. 3 and Aug. 28 respectively.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Abortion rights, infrastructure, and parental rights were a few of the topics that U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and Iowa Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, clashed during a debate hosted by both candidates’ previous employer, KCRG, on Wednesday night. 

Hinson is running for reelection in the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District after her first term, and Mathis is challenging her.

Mathis said she is the “women’s candidate” because of her support for abortion rights and referenced her no-vote on an abortion ban in Iowa. She said if she wins the election, she will work to codify Roe. v. Wade and to take the government out of reproductive health access. 

“I do not think that the government should intervene in a woman’s right to choose or her health care,” Mathis said. 

Hinson said she is strongly against abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest, and a pregnant person’s health, though she has co-sponsored bills that would outlaw abortion without those exceptions.

RELATED: The facts about Iowa’s 2nd District congressional candidates and abortion

Hinson said her pro-life stance is about more than abortion. She supports greater access to contraceptives, paid family leave, and expanding maternal health care. 

“What I think is extreme is a position that allows for abortion on demand until birth, which is what my opponents’ policy position is,” she said.

Hinson is referring to the Women’s Health Protection Act. Previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Mathis’ campaign confirms Mathis supports the act. While the bill does not allow abortion until birth, but rather, keeps states from restricting abortion access before “fetal viability” — which is around 24 weeks. 

Both candidates agree that Iowa needs to improve its infrastructure. Hinson voted against the Infrastructure Bill in 2021. However, she said even though she did not support the bill when it was tied to additional spending, she works to make sure those dollars reach Iowans. 

Most Republicans had concerns about overspending on the Infrastructure Bill; all of Iowa’s Republicans in Washington voted against it except for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Mathis said the Democrats can focus on bringing tax dollars back to the state of Iowa in an effort to keep from overspending. 

The topic of parental rights has been debated in Iowa ever since Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds designed SF 2369 which would allocate money for parents who choose to send their children to private schools. 

Hinson said that parents should have control over their children — not the government. 

“I’ll stand with parents. She’ll stand with Pelosi,” Hinson said. 

During the heated debate, the two candidates found common ground on a few issues. Hinson and Mathis agreed that mental health resources in the country are in critical condition and that there needs to be reform to the citizenship process. 

Hinson helped co-sponsor a bill that brings mental health services to rural America to get these resources to veterans across the country. 

“I’m very proud of the work we’ve done on mental health in Washington, D.C. and I’ve delivered for Iowans in rural America and specifically our veterans,” Hinson said. 

The competitors saw eye-to-eye on other issues as well. Neither candidate supports defunding the police or canceling student loan debt. 

“No defunding the police. I’ve never done that. I have always supported state troopers on a budget. I want to make sure that we have enough safety equipment,” Mathis said. 

Hinson wrapped up the debate by saying she is proud of the work she has done for Iowa taxpayers, and children in the state. She encouraged Iowans to “fire Pelosi” by voting for her as part of Republican efforts to take back control in the House.

“I think you’ve heard tonight about some very clear differences between us, about our future vision for this country,” Hinson said. “My opponent Liz Mathis believes this country is headed in the right direction. The Biden Pelosi Mathis agenda will look a whole lot like the last two years of failure for you.” 

Mathis agreed that there were stark differences between her and her competitor — specifically on the topic of abortion. 

“I want to protect a woman’s right to choose. I want to protect reproductive rights, something that my opponent is not going to do,” Mathis said.