(Tim Dominick/The State/MCT )
Rep. Michele Bachmann said she had a “devastating” miscarriage more than 20 years ago and that the event helped define her opposition to abortion.
The Minnesota congresswoman was campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination in Rock Hill, S.C., where she told a town hall-style meeting of the miscarriage. The meeting was first reported by CNN and Politico.
"After our second child was born, we became pregnant with a third baby," Bachmann said at Winthrop University on Wednesday night. "And it was an unexpected baby, but of course we were delighted to have this child. And the child was coming along, and we ended up losing that child. And it was devastating for both of us, as you can imagine if any of you have lost a child."
Bachmann has given birth to five children and she and husband have taken in 23 foster children as well. She said the miscarriage led them to reconsider their goals.
"At that moment we didn't think of ourselves as overly career minded or overly materialistic,” she said. "When we lost that child, it changed us. And it changed us forever."
Bachmann often discusses her opposition to abortion, a key part of her campaign. "We made a commitment that no matter how many children were brought into our life, we would receive them because we are committed to life," Bachmann told the South Carolina audience.
Bachmann has been growing stronger in recent polls of likely Republican voters, and one factor is her strong opposition to abortion. In Iowa, where she is running second to formerMassachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, she is the heir to the social conservative vote that has been seeking a candidate since former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race.
While most polls show that a majority of Americans support a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion, the polls vary on support for related issues such as federal funding for abortions for poor women. But in the GOP fold, especially in the early states where evangelical Christians are an important voting bloc, social conservative issues remain important voting factors.
Bachmann has attacked Romney for refusing to sign an anti-abortion pledge by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group. Romney has argued against the pledge, saying it would have unexpected consequences. The pledge calls on signers to back anti-abortion legislation and to appoint officials with similar views.
In addition to Bachmann, GOP presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have signed the pledge.
On Thursday, the group announced that Jon Huntsman has missed the deadline to sign the pledge, joining Romney and GOP candidates Herman Cain and Gary Johnson as non-signers.
"It is extremely disappointing to see another candidate who is running on a pro-life message refuse to sign the promise to voters that he will act as a leader for our movement if elected to the White House," said the group's president Marjorie Dannenfelser.