Ari­zona Rep. to re­sign over com­ments

Trent Franks dis­cussed birth sur­ro­gacy with two fe­male staffers

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM -

WASH­ING­TON — Repub­li­can Rep. Trent Franks of Ari­zona said Thurs­day he is re­sign­ing next month af­ter re­veal­ing that he dis­cussed sur­ro­gacy with two fe­male staffers.

The eight-term law­maker, a staunch con­ser­va­tive and fierce op­po­nent of abor­tion, said in a state­ment that he never phys­i­cally in­tim­i­dated, co­erced or at­tempted to have any sex­ual con­tact with any mem­ber of his con­gres­sional staff.

In­stead, he says, the dis­pute re­sulted from a dis­cus­sion of sur­ro­gacy. Franks and his wife, who have strug­gled with in­fer­til­ity, have 3-year-old twins who were con­ceived through sur­ro­gacy.

Franks, 60, says he had be­come fa­mil­iar with the sur­ro­gacy process in re­cent years and “be­came in­sen­si­tive as to how the dis­cus­sion of such an in­tensely per­sonal topic might af­fect oth­ers.”

He said he re­grets that his “dis­cus­sion of this op­tion and process in the work­place” with two fe­male staffers made them feel un­com­fort­able.

In a state­ment, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the al­le­ga­tions “se­ri­ous and re­quir­ing ac­tion” and said he told Franks he should re­sign.

Franks said he will step down ef­fec­tive Jan. 31.

The Ethics Com­mit­tee is un­likely to pro­ceed in light of the res­ig­na­tion.

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