The man Bush has tapped to head up the Justice Department, former Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, is a staunch opponent of abortion. But under intense questioning from Democrats at his Senate confirmation hearings this week, the attorney general-designate promised to enforce Roe vs. Wade, calling it "settled law."
"I believe Roe vs. Wade … was wrongly decided," Ashcroft said Tuesday in his testimony the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I am personally opposed to abortion. But … I well understand that the role of attorney general is to enforce the law as it is, not as I would have it."
Bush's nomination of the staunchly conservative Ashcroft was viewed as a victory for anti-abortion rights advocates, but his recent comments, like Mrs. Bush's, are giving some of them pause.
"If the sentiment is that abortion is a settled law of the land and should remain so and it is no big deal … I absolutely expect [pro-life leaders] to take him on," said one prominent social conservative who asked not to be named. "At some point pro-life Americans will want to see pro-life things happening."
"People are expecting something to happen on Roe," the conservative leader added. "It will not go quietly into that good night, so to speak."
ABCNEWS' Gayle Tzemach contributed to this report.