My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann
Author Alisa Harris, left, and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
August 14th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann

Editor's Note: Alisa Harris lives in New York City and is the author of the forthcoming Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics.

By Alisa Harris, Special to CNN

I could have become Michele Bachmann.

Reading a recent Bachmann profile in The New Yorker felt like attending an awkward cocktail party with former best friends whom I now stalk on the internet but haven’t spoken to in years.

The story describes Bachmann’s influences - including figures like Francis Schaeffer and David Noebel, who most Americans have never heard of but who are superstars in conservative Christian circles - and I found them all familiar faces from my childhood as a culture warrior.

Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll

These are people Bachmann admires and people I once admired, too.

Bachmann has protested at abortion clinics. I was attending abortion protests when I was still too young to hold a sign or even walk.

Bachmann began trying to combat the influence of liberals and secular humanists after encountering Francis Schaeffer’s 1970s’-era video series "How Should We Then Live," a plea to reclaim Western institutions from the corruption of secularism.

I watched the series with my parents as a child

Bachmann served on the board of directors for Summit Ministries, which sponsors conferences and institutes aimed at equipping evangelicals with a Christian worldview. I attended Summit Ministries’ Student Worldview Conference as a 15-year-old.

On the first night of the program, I sat rapt through a talk about a Christian dress code that spelled out the width of the shoulder straps I was permitted to wear, which was not a problem for me because I had brought only oversized Republican campaign t-shirts and shorts that were styled for a 35-year-old mom.

They gave us a handy worldview chart that had a vertical column for every area of life - economics, politics, pyschology, law - and a horizontal column that showed how Muslims, humanists, Marxists and New-Agers were wrong on every count.

The program’s leaders said that the Bible calls for limited government, and that God’s law and nature’s law were good foundations for a legal system. The Christian believes the free enterprise system to be more compatible with his worldview than other economic systems, I learned.

One night, the Summit Ministries instructors showed us a film whose central premise was that anal sex spreads awful diseases.

Terrified of all sex, I clenched my fists and closed my eyes and pretended to fall asleep like the boy up the aisle, who nodded off every day.

I developed a trembling crush on the boy I sat next to but squelched the attraction because the Summit speakers told me it was admirable to forgo romance and holding hands until engagement. We played card games instead.

I emerged from Summit finding that my fervor to stop abortion had grown from a disagreeable duty to an outright passion. I bought pro-life t-shirts.

When I came back filled with worldview fervor, I read a book co-authored by David Noebel, the Summit Ministries leader whose writings Bachmann recommended.

It rumbled apocalyptic warnings that humanists, from the NAACP to the Rockefeller Foundation to the National Council of Churches, were conspiring to build a one-world socialist order. I began to secretly find Noebel a little bit kooky.

Still, my family purchased his curriculum and submitted our homeschool speech and debate class to a rigorous worldview training. I took worldview quizzes that graded my ability to reflexively respond to all questions with answers about the Christian worldview of limited government and free enterprise.

I aced the quizzes. I had memorized it all and could spit it back.

Bachmann worked for John Eidsmoe, a man who argued the southern states had a “constitutional right to secede,” and she admired the writing of J. Steven Wilkins, who said that slaves led a “comfortable, though — by modern standards—spare existence.”

Throughout my high school years, I soldiered along with an organization that ran religio-political boot camps populated with ardent Southerners who still possessed Confederate money and auctioned it off - to frenzied bidding - at camp auctions.

The students and staff said the same thing Eidsmoe did. The Civil War wasn’t about racism, they argued, but state’s rights and freedom.

But by the time I heard these arguments, they enraged me. While competing in a home school speech tournament during high school, I wrote a speech that called on public school students to commit acts of civil disobedience by praying in public schools.

In my research I discovered Martin Luther King, Jr., a model of nonviolent resistance and the leader of a movement that seemed to me so just and Christian in the face of laws so clearly evil.

Seeing pictures of Southern police officers using a fire hose to flay the clothes and skin off of teenage civil rights protesters, I became livid at anyone who praised the virtue of the Confederacy or of the Jim Crow South.

Over the years I began to doubt what I’d been taught — that we could find in the Bible the final answers to our questions about the minutiae of 21st century tax policy and the path to economic growth. I saw Christians yell at gay activists, obsess over sex, and enforce ideological purity instead of reducing abortions or helping the poor.

I began to think that our Christian duty was not to make our country’s laws conform to our private morality but to heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.

The political principles I now embrace - human equality, human dignity, and human rights — align less with Schaeffer and more with King, who not only marched for civil rights for African-Americans but also launched the Poor People’s Campaign and fought for the economic rights of all, black and white.

These principles come from a Christian passion for justice but are not, like Bachmann’s worldview, exclusive to Christianity. I have abandoned neither politics nor my Christian faith but the idea of a “worldview” where all spiritual questions have political answers, and all political problems have spiritual solutions.

Newsweek’s latest cover calls Bachmann the “Queen of Rage.” I can testify to the rage her beliefs inspire, a rage that is focused inward - on protecting the sanctity of an iron-clad worldview, battling all the heretics who dare to believe something different, and seeing life from the bunker of a besieged and victimized faith.

I still have some rage, but it’s no longer focused on the secular humanists and tax-collectors. The rage exists on behalf of our wounded world, at the suffering of the poor and the exploitative practices of the rich and powerful. It’s exactly what the Old Testament prophets bellow at me to do.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alisa Harris.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Michele Bachmann • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,502 Responses)
  1. ILL501

    I'm beginning to think that this is a conspiracy. I cannot fathom that conservatives actually think they way they are being protrayed to think. WE have problems as a nation. I don't think that our problems are Obama's fault. I see him reach out to everyone to solve them. His base criticizes him for reaching out and compromising too much. I too believe that he aquiesces to much but that is why I'm not the POTUS and why I admire him so much.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • mb2010a

      Obama 2012. Clinton 2016 & 2020.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • elyhim

      I agree, I see the same thing. I don't like everything he has done but you can't fault him for trying. He's a consensus builder and most likely the best President we'll ever see.
      No red states, no blue states, he wasn't lying, he really sees us as a whole.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Henry

      I am not so sure this is a conspiracy. It is simply a warped view of the world when we can tie the debt to religion in some weird way. When this happens anything is game for these people. Faith in God and Jesus is wonderful but to preach one thing and to live a completely different life is just wrong. I used to attend a church where all the sermons talked about being afraid of God and for believing in God – great. The thing that was never, ever, a priority was the love for your fellow man. They talk about looking down on our fellow man and calling it love. These are some very odd people.

      August 14, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • Marry

      very well said!
      Very well said!
      I too admire him greatly – and that for MANY reasons!
      The only thing the GOP/TP does is say: Obama (note, they do not even have enough respect to say “President Obama”) is bad! We know why they feel that way: Because he works hard for ALL PEOPLE, has the sincere will to make things better for this country, is intelligent, and realistic; he has class and is liked around the world! All things we are definitively not! He makes them green with envy!

      August 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    We must stop trying to destroy our elected president. I am white and did not vote for Mr. Obama but he is our president.
    Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Fox News and all the republican America heaters are hurting our great country.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Sparky101

      Hmmmm, was that your stance with our last president too?

      August 14, 2011 at 4:23 am |
    • dpb

      What rock have you been hiding under? All candidates talk about how they could do better and point out what the current person has done, does, or might do that they think is wrong. Welcome to the real world. Politicians only care about votes and winning...it is a game to them. ANY AND ALL of them do this...please don't buy into the junk the media is selling about which party is for poor and which is for rich...neither of them care about people...only the votes.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • buckup

      actually I found bush43 more human in the second term, sparky. That is, when he realized how surrounded he was by criminals and fools, and had marginalized people like powell, he began distancing himself from the fools and reducing their influence. Unfortunately the damage was done: two mismanaged wars, outing a cia agent, destoyed finacial system, two economic heart attacks, and empowering the wingnuts to go onto wider insanity.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • Doris

      Wow, here is an article hating on a conservative and you manage to twist it around to say conservatives are hating on Obama. Your brain must be in the shape of a pretzel right now.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:02 am |
    • Frogist

      LOL! Doris, I think you really missed the point of the article! It's a clear criticism of Bachmann's worldview and tactics.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • James

      What in the world are you talking about? What the hell does being white have to do with anything? Obama is bringing this country to its knees. Do us all a favor, log off and keep your vapid posts to yourself.

      August 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Johnson252

      What do you have against heaters? Especially republican American heaters?

      "Fox News and all the republican America heaters are hurting our great country."

      August 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      Hurting?? Try destroying

      August 19, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  3. Mark from Canada

    I can't take your country seriously anymore. Great article! But I can't believe that we live in a time when we have the likes of Bachmann even being considered by some people to be a leader. How is this happening? What is going on? We already had the nutcase Bush in power and these rupublicans want more of a flogging? I wake up some mornings and think that this has got to be a joke. But there she is in front of crowds of people clapping. I'm giving up man...there really is no hope left in this world.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • Sparky101

      I felt the same way when I saw people fawning over Obama. After three years of this, I hope people learned to look a little closer at people who have friends like Bill Ayers.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:22 am |
    • Doris

      Well thank God you cant vote here!

      August 14, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • mb2010a

      Sparky101: And I suppose the Republicans / tea party have no skeletons in their closets...right? You are a teatard...

      August 14, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • Niclas Holm

      Mark – we can't fathom the likes of you either. You're a brainwashed liberal. There you have it. Feel better??

      August 14, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Jayson

      mb2010a: Ayers wasn't even a skeleton in Maobama's closet, it was right out in the open and people STILL worship him. THAT is why I mourn. People are too caught up in the rock star image and know nothing about people's who, what, how and why..

      August 14, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mark I agree with you completely. I cannot understand why anyone would vote for her except because of charisma. And even then she's more weird and scary than personable. Her views are extremist, her actions two-faced, and she hasn't done a thing for all the time she has been elected. Why anyone would support her is beyond me.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  4. drewshington

    Pete Stark 2016!!

    August 14, 2011 at 4:04 am |
  5. Joe Carter

    What an ignorant load of drivel. Ms. Harris doesn't even read her own work closely enough to recognize the internal contradictions. For example, she says: "I began to think that our Christian duty was not to make our country’s laws conform to our private morality but to heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.

    Then why praise MLK, since he believed it was our Christian duty to "make our country’s laws conform to our private morality."

    She also says, "The political principles I now embrace – human equality, human dignity, and human rights — align less with Schaeffer and more with King, . . ." Perhaps if she had actual done some research on Schaeffer (rather than relying on Lizza's error-filled article) she would have realized that Schaeffer was committed to the exact same things.

    I understand why Ms. Harris switched from being a conservative to being a liberal. No one would have given her a book contract if she had merely stayed a garden-variety conservative evangelical. But one day she'll realize that she doesn't really know all that much about what she thinks she's rebelling against. Her caricature of both Schaeffer and MLK would be fitting in a high school newspaper, but really shouldn't have been published by CNN.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:02 am |
    • Sparky101

      Pretty astute critique. Thanks for the edification.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • James C.

      MLK was not about private morality - what you do in the bedroom, for example - but about public morality. Should we treat all people as equals under the law? Yes.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • Joe Carter

      James C.: MLK said that a just law was “a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.” Does that sound like a man that wasn’t concerned with private morality?

      As his own niece has noted, if King were alive today he’d be condemned by people like Ms. Harris for advocating positions similar to the “religious right.”

      August 14, 2011 at 5:20 am |
  6. Astifas

    How come CNN sponsored blog postings are never in SUPPORT of the right-wing candidates/topics they target? Instead each seems to represent a subtle (or not-so-subtle) attempt to discredit that particular person/position. On the other hand, since I'm a conservative, maybe I'm only looking for one side of it, and the same thing is happening on the left. CNN fines a polarizing person/position and finds someone to write a wishy-washy, middle of the road, non-committal opinion of it, attempting to offend the least number of people possible. Why I read these, I don't know, but it's like a bad car accident, I can't look away. Maybe it's the horrid fascination of watching this generation pith itself with it's humanistic notion of subjective right & wrong.

    August 14, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I'm not sure what you expect, but most legitimate news sources neither support nor oppose candidates — they simply REPORT what's going on, sometimes throwing in a little analysis or color. Or does objectivity look biased to you because it doesn't happen to share YOUR biases?

      August 14, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • Eric

      CNN is a left leaning news source, that's life, if it offends you, don't read it.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  7. Limbaugh is a liberal

    In 2008 Hillary lost the presidential nomination to Obama, despite having been the 'certain' front-runner for years.
    What's more pathetic than that? Being a wanna-be Hillary. Upon her joining the republican ticket, Sarah Palin touted her similarities to Hillary, even in her very first speech. (remember her 'the women of America aren't done yet' quote?)
    What's more pathetic than that? The wanna-be Sarah Palins since then. Media outlets, from CNN to Foxnews have wasted no time trying to liken every female nominee to any federal office to Palin. Including Bachmann. She has been following in the footsteps of the public appearances and media-grabbing of Palin for over a year now, and while getting ahead in republican polls, she made absoltely no gains in national polls throughout it all.
    Sorry, this train is heading nowhere fast. I too want a woman for president, but not THIS woman.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • mb2010a

      Clinton 2016 & 2020...

      August 14, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  8. Richard

    Deepest sympathies for the poor lad stuck playing card games with you.

    I was once almost as into it as you were. Finally, at age 21, after much psychological trauma, I swore off religion. I have never for one second regretted that decision.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  9. RichardSRussell

    You know the difference between education and indoctrination? It's whether the person at the front of the room invites questions.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Will


      August 14, 2011 at 4:12 am |
    • Lawrence Raiken

      A very nice and succinct comment. Thanks.

      August 14, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  10. mdturnerinoz

    Not sure I'd want to admit to the public that one could have become a whacko dummy!!!!

    August 14, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • gremlinus

      None of us are perfect. I know I'm not. It's her journey, her life and her story. Many people would envy the insight she has gained into herself. Most people are afraid to look that closely at themselves.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • James C.

      As a kid, I got sucked into the Libertarian kool-aid by talk radio. Fortunately, I became interested in other things, and when I reconsidered Libertarianism later, I realized that I liked it because it seemed to have the right answer for everything, stemming from a small and easy set of basic principles. But I then realized that the simple answers were not compatible with a complex reality. There is a reason why social safety nets were invented: They are necessary to evolve past the disgusting Dickensian societies of the begging poor controlled by a small number of wealthy elites. Libertarianism would just hand complete control of the country to those with the most money and greed to match it, and we would all be at their disposal. I'd much prefer the government - run by all of us and accountable to all of us - than corporations, which are only seeking more efficient ways to drain us of more of our money while paying us less to work.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:06 am |
  11. Paul D.

    The cross of Christ is foolish to those that are perishing, and there be many. Yet grace from God through the Lord Jesus Christ to those that believe!!

    August 14, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • The Niteowl

      Political ideology, either left or right leaning, are not related to Christ, who wanted nothing to do with physical governments or politics – they are simply the foolishness of men. Foolishness amplified by those on either side who claim God sides with them.

      August 14, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  12. Paul D.

    Remember, with God all things are possible! He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask, think or imagine! Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

    August 14, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      And yet he won't save me from yammering like this, no matter how often I've begged for that kind of salvation.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • buckup

      Then he should get off his duff and save those starving dying children. AND YOU, need to go to Somalia pronto to back up your words, pronto!

      August 14, 2011 at 5:04 am |
  13. Paul Ronco


    August 14, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  14. Steven Newell

    What utter nonesense. The author picks the part of scripture she wants to believe in and weaves other things in to create her own tapestry, conveniently ignoring the threads that won't fit. It's more "if it feels good..." but with a head nod toward believing in a Creator. Spare me...

    August 14, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Steve

      Picking what parts of the scripture, the parts about basic human rights?

      All she's saying is that the bible doesn't support an economic agenda and that growing up she was bothered by some of the hypocrisy displayed by Christians, which is not such a radical concept. A lot of Christians simply do not treat one another as the Bible says they should, it's not hard to see.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Neeneko

      Every Christian picks and chooses scripture. That is why we have so many denominations.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • Brimshack

      What a remarkably apt description of Bachman and all the so-called "conservative Christians."

      August 14, 2011 at 4:08 am |
    • Sparky101

      Steven, your detractors do not seem to have a very good understanding of what a Christian is – yet they really think they do. It's easy to say that Christians don't act like Christians, especially if you don't really know much about it. Somehow unbelievers or Christian-lites only see hypocricy in Christians, as though being a Christian somehow innoculated people against being human. It's also easy to just buy into a piece that supports your bias, instead of giving it a critical review and researching the claims for oneself.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • mb2010a

      Sounds like a typical "Christian" to me...

      August 14, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      “It's good to question anything and everything, but it's better to go look for yourself.”

      Which is what Ms. Harris did.

      “You have taken this young woman's opinion as truth, without researching it for yourself.”

      I have taken this as HER truth. She is relating the story of how she put God over dogma.

      “The ‘extremism’ you speak of is just not preached in Christian churches, unless you consider Christ to have been an extremist.”

      Unfortunately, this kind of extreme belief IS taught in Christian churches all over the country. That’s part of the problem. People have interpreted the Bible to back up their own hatred and bigotry. A dire example of this is Westboro Baptist Church.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  15. JeffG

    It was very interesting to read about the details behind what Bachman has herself stated as influencing her beliefs. This level of extremism is outside the norm for most of us, and really no different than the Taliban's beliefs about being a Muslim.

    For the author I wish you the very best in your faith. The hypocrisy you describe, and the hate, is one of the many reasons I ceased to be an active Christian many years ago. It was a loss for me. Continue to stand up for what you believe and to do good work in this world. I believe that is the real calling and what God appreciates the most.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Sparky101

      Except that you didn't read any of the details in this short and misleading article. There were no details. It's easy to point a finger of blame towards a "church" and a blble that you seem to disagree with, but it's not about a church, it's about how you personally relate to God. They can't save you. When you truly think about it, we are all hypocrites at one time or another. Yours lies in a lack of forgiveness and a bitterness for something that probably never existed except in the mind of an idealistic youth. It's good to question anything and everything, but it's better to go look for yourself. You have taken this young woman's opinion as truth, without researching it for yourself. The "extremism" you speak of is just not preached in Christian churches, unless you consider Christ to have been an extremist. Do you think Jesus preached abortion as a solution to a problem of your very own making? Now that would be extreme, killing innocents to avoid a problem you created.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:11 am |
    • buckup

      au contraire, the reference to summit ministries was news to me, a fascist nest I was unfamiliar with. The tidbits on their mind control reminded of the taliban madrassas. If the only thing I got out of the article is to put this fringe group on my radar, then the author provided me an informative service. Thanks CNN for letting the little people write an op-ed piece occassionally. This will probably blow her chances getting a $1m/y job at fox working for palin, ailes and murdoch.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  16. Peikovian

    I guess CNN is FOX when it's drunk?

    August 14, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • drewshington

      hahaha.. nice

      August 14, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • Roseability

      Well, at least this is clearly labeled "CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs." Fox would just lump it into the Politics or Editorial/Opinion Columnist section of their website as a full fledged article. Editorials are half their news. They don't even have many video clips or news reels of news on their site. It's just as bad as the Huffington Post's information gateway. CNN's website is by far the most thoughtfully organized, insightful and useful US cable news website.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:14 am |
  17. Jay

    Sounds like you've made some progress in freeing your mind from religious claptrap but you've still got a way to go. Best of luck in shedding your shackles.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Clinton English


      August 14, 2011 at 3:51 am |
  18. LinCA

    Alisa Harris start by saying "I could have become Michele Bachmann.".

    To be like Bachmann, you have to start by checking your brain at the door. You have to buy into the christian fundamentalist nonsense. You have to close your eyes, ears and mind.

    Sorry Alisa, you are nothing like Bachmann.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Daniel

      Did you read her article?

      Earlier in life, she did. She bought the whole program lock, stock and barrel.

      She -could have been- Michelle Bachman if she hadn't been brave enough to question her beliefs, use her reason and her conscience, and come to a new understanding of her faith – an understanding that is a lot more like what Jesus actually talked about being important.

      Michelle Bachman is scary because she still holds these beliefs – including the part about it being right to make the rest of us live by them whether they are our beliefs or not.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Tom

      Gotta love CNN. Let's not actually report news anymore. Let's do a book review and compare it was news that happened today.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Steve

      You missed a great article LinCA, too bad you were in such a hurry to submit a clever comment.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • TomG

      So Tom, are you saying that the writer's story is not news? I found it very interesting and she actually presented "facts." If this is not news to you, then I assume you feel the same about stories of Michele Bachmann and her reports of God talking to her, etc.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • jimjoe

      TomG. If you consider this to be 'facts' then you lack any and all objectivity. Alleged personal experiences to support fallacious assertions is by no means fact.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:47 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      Tom and jimjoe, perhaps you missed the part where this is in the OPINION section, not the news section.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  19. Q

    Fantastic piece.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      @ Q

      Absolutely agree !


      August 14, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Stymie99

      "Fantastic piece"?? Seriously? This is what happens when you drop out of high school. Fantastic piece? Whew. Really?

      August 14, 2011 at 7:15 am |
    • Q

      @Stymie99 – I appreciated how the author's personal story illustrated how despite indoctrination, a minimal level of curiosity and skepticism can result in a dramatically different perspective from where one might have begun. Certainly, you must have some relevant points to your criticism beyond "whew", "really", question marks and suggesting those who disagree with you must be uneducated?

      August 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Frogist

      Yes, very interesting and informative piece.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  20. Reality

    More facts about contraceptives from



    Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

    Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
    Pill 11,661 30.6
    Male condom 6,841 18.0 "

    The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

    i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
    during the first year of pill use.

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    Hopefully, M. Bachmann and A. Harris take their Pills every day!!! And to add a double layer of protection, one assumes their lovers use condoms during intercourse.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Bluemoondrop

      Your reality is weird. Actually, you're kinda weird too O_o

      August 14, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • A Random Strange Bird

      I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

      August 14, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Reality

      Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

      Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

      The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

      2008 Presidential popular vote results:

      69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

      And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe it should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)
      (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

      August 14, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Reality

      A. Harris and M. Bachmann:

      "Facts on Contraceptive Use

      January 2008


      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

      • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a con-traceptive method.[2]

      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use cont-raceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]


      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)


      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice con-traception use reversible methods, such as oral con-traceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]


      Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)


      Pill (combined) 8.7
      Tubal sterilization 0.7
      Male condom 17.4
      Vasectomy 0.2

      Periodic abstinence 25.3
      Calendar 9.0
      Ovulation Method 3.0
      Sympto-thermal 2.0
      Post-ovulation 1.0

      No method 85.0"

      (Abstinence) 0

      (Masturbation) 0

      August 14, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • CheeseSteak

      There is something wrong with you. See a mental health professional soon.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:10 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.