Local pro-life proponents are hoping the next Supreme Court justice will tip the scales of the highest court in the land on perhaps the most divisive issue.
"With the retirement of Justice Kennedy, I think folks in the pro-life movement are anywhere from cautiously optimistic to zealously optimistic," said Tom Venzor, Executive Director Nebraska Catholic Conference.
Venzor said he believes there is a real chance Roe vs. Wade could be overturned — and the opposition agrees.
"Certainly Roe v. Wade is on the line... We know that we have to be honest about it," said Meg Mikolajczyk, deputy director Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
Even if the federal abortion law does not get overturned, a new pro-life justice could leave open the chance states can pass tighter restrictions with the nation's highest court upholding them.
Iowa is now testing this Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is now in the courts. Nebraska already has a 20-week ban in place, and Venzor says he's always seeking new ways to cripple abortion rights in Nebraska.
“We just have to continue looking at legislation that clearly undermines Roe vs. Wade because it is a faulty decision — it's a stain on the nation," Venzor said.
Mikolajczyk said her side is bracing to defend the right to abortion, and that while Gov. Pete Ricketts has often said that Nebraska is a pro-life state, she believes Nebraskans ultimately want abortion access.
“Majority of Nebraskans do not want to see people lose the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own health... they want to keep Roe v. Wade," Mikolajczyk said.