All three Republicans competing for the chance to run against Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne in the fall oppose abortion under any circumstance — but all three say it should be the states that regulate abortion, not the U.S. congress.

Candidate Nicole Hasso of Johnston, an insurance executive, said there’s nothing more important than life itself. “They put those Planned Parenthood places in the black communities to control the population,” Hasso said. “Where’s the outrage in that? So I will be 100% standing for life, from conception to the grave.”

Candidate Zach Nunn, a state senator from Bondurant, said if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, Democrats will try to pass a federal law on abortion rights.

“They’re going so far as to say just today that they would tear down the filibuster so they could push through a congressional act,” Nunn said. “They’re going so far as to say they would pack the courts to ensure their liberal view of abortion on demand is something that they can have.”

Candidate Gary Leffler, a construction consultant from West des Moines, said it is “absolutely critical” that states decide abortion policy. “We’re tired of Washington, D.C. and its dominance of what happens in Iowa,” Leffler said. “Let’s put Iowans back in control of this issue.”

The candidates made their comments late this afternoon during an hour-long debate hosted by WHO TV. Leffler said Governor Reynolds should return federal pandemic relief that hasn’t been spent.

“We can’t sit there and say: ‘Hey, we want all this dollars from Washington, D.C. and continue this rapid spending.’ Can’t do it,” Leffler said. “Send a congressman to D.C. who’ll say: ‘No!'”

Governor Reynolds returned about $95 million in federal pandemic aid to reopen Iowa schools, which Reynolds said were already open, and Hasso said that was the right decision. “If we’re not going to use that money and we’re just going to sit on it, it needs to go back,” Hasso said.

Nunn disagreed with returning pandemic aid. “God knows where that money would have ended up if Iowa would have sent it back, but it wouldn’t have been helping our state. It would have ended up somewhere n a blue state,” Nunn said, adding that the federal pandemic support helped pave the way for state tax cuts, which he supported.

The group said those who invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 should be prosecuted, but Hasso questioned whether January 6th defendants are being treated the same as those arrested in protests after George Floyd’s murder. “People burned down buildings, held communities hostage and took the livelihood of small businesses,” Hasso said, “and those people, they were arrested, but it was called ‘catch and release.'”

Leffler attended President Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, but Leffler has said he did not enter the Capitol. “There was a certain element that went there and they had an ulterior motive. That’s absolutely true,” Leffler said this afternoon, “but for the million people plus that were there…to support American values, the support ‘We, the People, they were there for the right reasons.”

Nunn said January 6th was “a tragic day,” but it was fueled Americans who feel frustrated by the election process. “We in Iowa do it very well,” Nunn said. “…But Cindy Axne, the opponent in this race, has tried to pass HR1 which would nationalize all elections and bottle it up in a Washington, D.C. run form of election monitoring, implementation and verification.”

All three candidates criticized Axne for failing to report stock trades, as required by House rules.