Here’s what happens if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

President Donald Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Now with another nominee to the Supreme Court in his hands, abortion rights advocates worry that conservative dream will come true.

But what needs to happen in order for Roe, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, to be overturned is more complex than it might seem. And if it happens, what comes next isn’t black and white either.

Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a George W. Bush–era nominee with an extensive record of conservative decisions. While he has written opinions in past cases expressing anti-abortion sentiments — for example, the late 2017 case Garza v. Hargan in which he wrote that the government had an interest in “favoring fetal life … and refraining from facilitating abortion” — he has carefully avoided expressing a direct opinion on whether he supports or opposes Roe.