Franks has picketed abortion clinics over the years, but ultimately he decided it wasn’t the way for him. “It became clear to me that I could be more effective by trying to do something to light a candle rather than to curse the darkness,” he explains.
Franks has also made an effort to engage in dialogue with pro-choice advocates over the years. At one point, he belonged to a group called Common Ground, which included people on both sides of the issue.
“The rules were very simple,” he recounts. “We could take turns asking each other questions. But we could not argue, we could not debate. I will tell you, I never saw anything, from my perspective, that was more productive and fruitful.” He saw people change their minds “from the pro-choice side to the pro-life side dramatically when that happened.”
Tommy Brown, an old friend of Franks and a radio host, recalls him as someone who could talk about abortion without hurting relationships. “Early on, the thing that I most admired about Trent was that when he was talking about pro-life issues, in informal or official [settings], it didn’t matter; somehow both sides still seemed to care for him. Now that was a different age,” says Brown, of the dialogue that occurred during the Nineties.
Regardless of what the future brings, Franks is determined to do what he can to prevent abortions. He thinks about what his four-year-old twins will say when they are older and become aware of how many have died in abortion. He wants to be able to tell them he did something about it. And he contemplates how history will judge the United States for permitting abortion.
“I suppose, like a lot of other tragedies or genocides throughout history, at the time, the contemporaries were somehow not really aware of the humanity of the victims, and the inhumanity of what was being done to them — whether it was slavery, whatever it might have been,” he reflects. “What motivates me, what makes me feel good,” he says, “is that when I am lying down in the lonely moments of an old-age home, I want to be able to look back and say, ‘I think there are children out there somewhere having a better time in life and laying hold of the miracle of it all because I got to be here.’”
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.
Editor’s Note: This article has been modified since its initial posting.