Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., became the third member of Congress to resign this week, saying that he had approached two female subordinates about being a surrogate for his child.
"Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff," Franks said in a statement. "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. And so, I want to shed light on how those conversations came about."
Franks went on to detail how he and his wife had "long struggled with infertility" and suffered three miscarriages. They had twins through a surrogate, but subsequent attempts to have another child by either adoption or another surrogate fell through.
"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others," Franks said.
The announcement from Franks came shortly after the House Ethics Committee announced they were investigating sexual harassment claims made into actions by Franks. And the congressman said that the investigation was the instigation for his decision to resign at the end of January, because, he said, "I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation."
"We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety," Franks added. "It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims."
The surprise and swift announcement from Franks comes after Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced earlier Thursday he intends to step down soon after multiple women claimed Franken tried to kiss them or inappropriately touch them. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., also resigned earlier this week facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment.