18 August 2022

Special Message on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

Kelsey Johnson

Kelsey Johnson University of Virginia

AAS President's Message

The impact of the US Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has been deeply felt by many AAS members, and we have been paying close attention to the ongoing court cases. The safety of our members and AAS staff must be the highest priority and guide our decisions alongside our mission, “To enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community.”

The gravity of these matters requires careful consideration and discussion of both intended and unintended consequences as well as ensuring the AAS leadership hears your perspectives. We are listening, and it is clear that AAS members have diverse views. I have carved out time at upcoming meetings of the Board of Trustees to engage in this discussion and determine the best course of action with respect to the Supreme Court ruling. For this discussion and any resulting decisions that the Board makes to be robust, it is imperative that we hear from AAS members to inform our dialog and ensure we are as well-informed as possible of member views.

We will continue to take steps to ensure the safety of our members at our meetings. We expect all members to adhere to our code of ethics to ensure we are all operating at the highest levels of professional integrity, which includes respectful discourse. In the meantime, I have charged the Ethics Working Group and the Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy with creating a framework to determine under what circumstances the AAS should respond to socio-political issues. As our deliberations move forward, I will keep the AAS membership informed, and I look forward to hearing from all members about their points of view (please send your comments by email to [email protected]).

Kelsey Johnson
AAS President