As he campaigned for the presidency in 1999, George W. Bush sought to appease the anti-abortion wing of his party by suggesting that America ought not to consider banning abortion until public opinion reflected that decision. “Laws are changed as minds are persuaded,” he stated. 

However, Bush wasn’t pro-abortion. On several occasions, he signed anti-abortion legislation. He asserted that anti-abortion advocates focus on convincing more Americans to take their side. For many years after that, anti-abortion activists focused on more incremental steps toward their goal, such as calling for safety requirements at abortion clinics and waiting periods between a woman’s first visit to the clinic and her abortion.

For decades, public views on the legality of abortion have always been divided. The nation remains split on the issue of legalizing abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court is seemingly ready to overturn or significantly change its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, decided 49 years ago. 

Soon, the Supreme Court will consider whether bans on abortion before viability are constitutional. In December, most of the justices in the court’s conservative majority asked whether it was constitutional to ban abortion before the fetus was viable. They will now decide whether such bans are constitutional in a case from Mississippi. 

In case a majority decides to allow the state of Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, the Supreme Court may not be able to stand by its precedent in Roe v. Wade, according to Marjorie Dannenfelser. As president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Dannenfelser has been working toward that goal since 1992.

Supporters of abortion rights are aware that Roe v. Wade is once again under legal threat. In Texas, for example, all abortions except those performed in the first six weeks have been unavailable since September. This is due to a standoff over a state law that bans abortions after six weeks but leaves enforcement to the general public.