Arizona Republican Trent Franks announced on Thursday that he would resign his House seat in January 2018. Franks apparently made the decision after learning he was the subject of an Ethics Committee investigation, after he asked two of his female staffers to carry his children as surrogates.
Franks did not realize this was inappropriate, he said in a statement:
I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff. However, I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable.
This is what we call continuity. Franks is among the most conservative members of the House, but he is probably best known for his political efforts to legislate legal abortion out of existence and elevate the personhood of a fetus over the personhood of a woman.
In the last year alone he has sponsored or cosponsored:
- Life at Conception Act, which states that “the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization.”
- Sanctity of Human Life Act, which states that “each human life begins with fertilization... at which time every human has all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.”
- Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, which would ban abortion as early as six weeks and makes it a crime “for a physician to knowingly perform an abortion: without determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, without informing the mother of the results, or after determining that a fetus has a detectable heartbeat.”
- Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017, which would ban “for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period.”
- Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which makes it a crime “for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.”
- No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017, which “makes permanent the prohibition on the use of federal funds, including funds in the budget of the District of Columbia, for abortion or health coverage that includes abortion.”
Little shock then that after 15 years in Congress trying to reduce women’s legal status to that of walking wombs, Franks would relate to his female subordinates on exactly these terms.