ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA, June 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann unexpectedly revealed to a South Carolina audience Wednesday a formative experience that shaped her staunchly pro-life views: a “devastating” miscarriage she suffered years ago.

According to a CNN report, Bachmann was responding to a question about her position on abortion when she revealed that after her first two children were born, she miscarried her third pregnancy.

Although the pregnancy was unexpected, Bachmann said that she and her husband welcomed their third child and were “devastated” when the baby died.

“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 told the 400 South Carolinians who had packed the town hall meeting to hear her speak during her presidential campaign announcement tour. 

Bachmann went on to have three more children, and to care for 23 foster children. She credits the miscarriage for shaping her pro-life convictions and helping her to embrace the gift of life in her own family.

“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,” she said.

According to CNN reporter Peter Hamby, the revelation was unexpected not just for the audience, but for Bachmann’s staff as well.

“Even some of Bachmann’s staffers were caught by surprise and had not heard [the] story before,” Hamby tweeted yesterday.

The Minnesota Republican has emerged as a front-runner for the GOP nomination, according to a Rasmussen poll taken after the New Hampshire debate earlier this month. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bachmann-jumps-to-second-cain-third-behind-romney-in-gop-race-poll/

She has been at the forefront of championing pro-life legislation in Congress, and recently fought to remove Planned Parenthood tax funding from the 2011 budget. She also signed a pro-life leadership pledge promising to advance pro-life legislation and make pro-life appointments as President.