By Dave Andrusko
Just as most Americans have been touched, directly or indirectly by abortion, so too are most Americans painfully aware of the tragic reality of miscarriages. Presidential candidate Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who described herself at National Right to Life’s convention last week as “100% pro-life, from conception until natural death,” revealed Wednesday that she had suffered a miscarriage after the birth of her second child.
Watching her at a town hall meeting in Rock Hill South Carolina, talk about her loss, which Bachmann described as “devastating,” it is easy to see why it shaped her views on abortion Here is what she said verbatim, and then just a quick couple of comments.
“After our second was born, we became pregnant with a third baby. It was an unexpected baby, but of course we were delighted to have this child. 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.”
“At that moment, we didn’t think of ourselves as overly career-minded or overly materialistic but when we lost that child, it changed us, and it changed us forever,” she said. “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. And we didn’t know at that time that we would be foster parents and that one day we would be parents of 28 children but we are extremely grateful for that opportunity because You can get money wrong, but you can’t get life wrong. And I am committed to life.” (Twenty-eight refers to the Bachmanns’ five biological children and the 23 foster children they brought into their home.)
First, note that Bachmann said the loss of that child was devastating to both of them—including her husband Marcus. The unexpected loss of a child part-way through a pregnancy is heart-wrenching to both parents.
Second, writing at Poynter.org, Julie Moos noted that even though there were a number of reporters at the event, only two initially wrote about Bachmann’s miscarriage. Moos emailed the two, and one (James Hohmann of Politico) wrote back,
“I can’t speak for what the others chose to write about and why, but it was obvious to me that this miscarriage was significant to Bachmann’s personal story and potentially significant to the campaign narrative. We rushed to get a story up online as soon as we could and fleshed it out with more detail in the hours after the event.”
Rather than contributing to a “campaign narrative,” wouldn’t you think a better answer is likely that Bachmann was just sharing a central truth–how the loss of life can deepen respect for life?