Released September 10, 2021
The AAGL has the responsibility and mission to advocate for women’s rights, and specifically for women’s health care rights. We vehemently oppose Texas Senate Bill 8, as it abolishes women’s autonomy and ignores the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship in the face of evidence-based medicine.
Legal abortion is safer than childbirth, which confers a 14-fold increased risk of death. In 1972, the United States Supreme Court affirmed that women have autonomy in decisions regarding their pregnancy until the fetus attains viability, at about 24 weeks.
Texas Senate Bill 8 imposes on women significant obstacles to their private medical care, and arbitrarily reduces the permissible time interval for exercising this autonomy to a narrow window that is not feasible for implementation.
Worse yet, this new law creates and financially incentivizes Texas citizens to participate in a new form of misogyny that cripples the women of Texas from their exercise of bodily autonomy. It further prevents physicians from providing competent, compassionate, and respectful care for their patients.
While the Supreme Court would not issue a stay of this heinous law based on issues of standing, it should hastily find this law unconstitutional because it creates a gross new pathway to impair women’s civil and human rights.
Therefore, as medical professionals dedicated to the well-being of all women, the AAGL submits this statement to support the autonomy of women and formally speak against Texas Senate Bill 8.
 1. Raymond EG, Grimes DA. The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States. Obstetrics and gynecology. Feb 2012;119(2 Pt 1):215-9. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e31823fe923
Message from the President
Released September 3, 2021
Response to the location of the AAGL 2021 Global Congress in Austin and Texas Senate Bill 8
AAGL and its Board are deeply concerned and disturbed by the passing of Texas Senate Bill 8. This ruling is a direct threat to the health and well-being of women, bans vital and evidence-based reproductive healthcare, and is a direct intrusion of the patient-physician relationship. This law also disproportionately affects minorities and low-income women.
Given this recent ruling, we received social media messages regarding the Global Congress being held in Texas. This year’s Global Congress has been in the planning stages for over two years and is scheduled to take place in a mere 65 days. Canceling, and moving to another location at this late date, is not only physically impossible but will also result in substantial financial loss. In addition, many of our members who have already finalized their plans to attend may also endure penalties related to travel.
We respect the concerns raised by our members, but we, unfortunately, cannot move the meeting this year.
Ted T.M. Lee, M.D.
2021 AAGL President
Message from the President
Released August 23, 2021
AAGL 2021 Global Congress Health and Safety Update
As the leading organization dedicated to Elevating Gynecologic Surgery through education, we remain committed to presenting a robust in-person Congress, November 14-17, 2021, in Austin, Texas.
AAGL considers the safety of all attendees a top priority. As such, we will require all in-person attendees, exhibitors, and staff to provide proof of vaccination to participate in this year’s Congress. AAGL will partner with a 3rd party service focused on vaccine validation, that will confidentially process your documentation and will provide pre-approval for each in-person attendee.
The proof of vaccination process will be sent to all in-person attendees and must be completed in advance of your arrival at the Congress. Please also be aware of the following:
- A negative COVID-19 test will not be accepted in place of proof of vaccination to attend.
- Masks may be required on-site.
- Social distancing and other on-site safety measures will be followed.
AAGL will continue to work with the City of Austin and Austin Convention Center on safety logistics including enhanced cleaning, sanitation standards, and placement of hand sanitizer stations.
In addition, AAGL will continue to monitor updates and any guidance recommendations required by the CDC, the State of Texas and/or the Austin Convention Center and will communicate any updates as the situation evolves.
We look forward to welcoming all of you to what is sure to be an exceptional 50th Anniversary Global Congress.
Ted T.M. Lee, M.D.
2021 AAGL President
Released: May 21, 2021
Joint Statement Gynecology Social Media Ontologies
It has become increasingly apparent that social media is an integral part of the public health equation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical misinformation is widespread (e.g., conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID vaccines), and demands an organized, concerted response by experts to rebut and combat pseudoscientific claims. We are asking for the Gynecology community to make this effort easier and more effective by collectively standardizing the way we communicate among ourselves, patients, and advocacy groups, on social media and across the Internet.
Ontologies are the hashtag terms (e.g. #MedEd for medical education) that organize posts in social networking analytics. The aim of this joint statement is to align hashtag use in our social media community and to lower barriers of communication in the healthcare provider and patient communities. We are asking the members of our societies to use, promote, and publish these hashtags to encourage their uptake and use in scientific journals, websites, listservs, social media channels, and at our annual meetings.
Below, find the ontologies collectively agreed upon by the represented stakeholders in gynecologic specialties. They are organized by subspecialty practice. The current list was created using a combination of expert opinion/online crowdsourcing and healthcare analytics programs for current high-usage ontologies. These ontologies will group information in such a way that makes them easily searchable by interested parties and make it possible to generate analytics on the conversations surrounding gynecologic surgery happening on social media. This list will be updated as healthcare topics trend over time.
View the full statement here:
.052021_Ontologies Joint Statement
Released: April 8, 2021
The American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL): Statement Condemning Racism and Violence Against the Asian Community
“In a year of tragedy due to the overwhelming loss of life from the COVID-19 pandemic, increased violence and racism against the Asian community compounds our grief. Though anti-Asian sentiment has plagued the Asian community for centuries, Asians have now become the scapegoats for the discontent and fear of the rest of the world. A recent study has found that in the past year, anti-Asian hate crimes have increased in the United States by 149 percent. Facing a global pandemic together has shown how connected the world really is at every level. For some, however, the pandemic has been used as a platform for increased racism and a guise for violent assaults. There is never justification for such brutality or such ignorance.”
“The AAGL is a progressive and inclusive society that currently and historically includes physicians from every race and ethnicity in leadership positions. Though we have modeled inclusion, we, as a society, must take to heart the threat to the Asian community and develop our awareness of anti-Asian racism in order to take a proactive stance against it. The AAGL condemns hate and racist claims of all forms and stands in support of the Asian community.”
Ted T.M. Lee, MD
2021 AAGL President
NOTE: AAGL has also participated in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) Collective Action Addressing Racism Joint Statement on Anti-Racism that can be accessed via this link: https://www.acog.org/news/news-articles/2021/04/collective-action-addressing-racism-in-solidarity-with-asian-american-pacific-islander-community
Released – March 22, 2021
Endometriosis is a common and complex condition affecting millions worldwide with significant impact on quality of life, fertility and our health care system. The major challenges for those affected have been delays in diagnosis, lack of awareness and lack of access to high quality surgery and interdisciplinary care.
The AAGL and its members are committed to improving access to care, research, education and support for individuals and families affected by Endometriosis. In order to achieve these goals, the AAGL is committed to elevating care quality among its members through our online programming, our Annual Global Congress, Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (FMIGS) and guidelines. Advances in diagnostic imaging, medical therapies and surgical techniques are shared through our Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology (JMIG) and presented in our research programs.
Improving care for those with endometriosis takes a team that involves patients, families, health care providers and policy makers.
The AAGL is committed to elevating the conversation alongside all those who are fighting to improve the health of those in need.
Released: February 26, 2021
Our organizations, which comprise leading professional organizations in health care, officially designate February 28 and March 1—the dates that bridge Black History and Women’s History months—for the formal acknowledgment of Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha, the three enslaved Black women whose exploitation led to foundational advances in the field of obstetrics and gynecology that benefit millions of patients today. Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha, and other unnamed enslaved women, were experimented on by Dr. James Marion Sims in development of surgical techniques in the mid-1800s. Their documented experiences have helped raise awareness about racism in medicine and the abuses endured by people of color that have often been overlooked in medical history. This year’s commemoration marks the inaugural formal reflection on the injustices—deeply rooted in racism and oppression—carried out against these women and others throughout history. As leading organizations comprised of medical care professionals, we have made an actionable commitment to accountability and doing the purposeful work of dismantling systemic and institutional racism that is pervasive in U.S. healthcare institutions and led to continued disparate and negative health outcomes for Black, indigenous, people of color and other marginalized persons.
This effort starts with the seven actions outlined in the joint statement Collective Action Addressing Racism (download the pdf). One of the primary objectives of this collective action is to assist our organizations’ members in reflecting, learning, and acting on ways they can individually work to change the culture of medicine. This inaugural year, on Feb. 22, Dr. Veronica Pimentel, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist whose activism was the impetus for the commemoration days, hosted a live event with Award-Winning Historian Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, discussing the history and accounts of Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha. You can access the recording of that event here.
Dr. Pimentel has also provided a video reflecting on the importance of recognizing Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha and the impact this recognition and reflection can have on the medical community as a whole. Access the video here or click the image below to play the video.
Dr. Veronica Maria Pimentel Video
Released – January 22, 2020
The American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) announces 50 years of excellence in elevating minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. This golden anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year by featuring the rich history and accomplishments of the AAGL and honoring the pioneers who have paved the way for modern minimally invasive gynecologic surgery. The festivities will culminate in November 2021 in a commemoration at the AAGL Annual Global Congress, the premier scientific conference for gynecologic surgeons from around the world.
Since its inception in 1971, AAGL has played a critical role in the dissemination of best practices in MIGS and the education of gynecologic surgeons from around the world. The AAGL proudly count the world’s foremost authorities in gynecologic surgery, procedural pioneers, and medical thought leaders as members of our association. Now, with a membership of over 7,500 surgeons across 110 countries, the AAGL continues to reach to the farthest corners of the globe to elevate MIGS and thereby, enhance health care for women worldwide.
“This is a tremendous milestone for our association,” shares Linda Michels, Executive Director of AAGL. “It represents the perseverance and commitment to excellence of thousands of gynecologic surgeons who carry out our mission. Our legacy of the last 50 years is the improved health of millions of women.”
“Each of us, as members of this prestigious association, owe homage to those who came before us,” says Dr. T.M. Ted Lee, AAGL President. “We study their techniques; we learn from their struggles and we benefit from their advocacy. Throughout this year we remember and recognize the achievements of the AAGL and will use this inspiration to shape our vision for the years to come.”
AAGL is the leading association promoting minimally invasive gynecologic surgery among surgeons worldwide. AAGL’s mission is to elevate the quality and safety of health care for women through excellence in clinical practice, education, research, innovation, and advocacy. Find out more about AAGL at: www.aagl.org.
For more information, please contact Linda Michels, Executive Director, AAGL, at 714-503-6204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Released – December 15, 2020
The American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), Canadian Society for the Advancement of Gynecologic Excellence (CANSAGE), International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS), International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS), Society of Family Planning (SFP,) Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), Society of Gynecologic Surgeons (SGS) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) – release a unified statement supporting public health measures to combat COVID-19.
AAGL supports strategies that protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, health care professionals, and our professional society members and staff. Ongoing public health measures such as distancing, masking, hand hygiene, and appropriate personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel are critical in minimizing spread of existing COVID-19 infection and protecting healthcare providers around the globe. Vaccination is the key to prevention of new infections.
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the United States. On December 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved the recommendation to use this vaccine in the indicated population under FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. We believe that the vaccine trials and the FDA and ACIP data evaluation process have been robust and transparent. In other countries across the world, regulatory bodies have also endorsed the vaccine, and similar processes will be followed globally to evaluate each upcoming candidate vaccine. It is our collective opinion, after closely monitoring this situation, that the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination far outweigh the risks. We endorse vaccination for all eligible health care workers, patients, and our society at large, including populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 or complications from the disease, in consultation with their physicians or health care professionals.
It is especially important that certain eligible patient populations, including pregnant women, consult with their trusted physicians when considering whether to take the vaccine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have urged that pregnant and lactating people be included in the vaccine trials and research; unfortunately, they were not.
While a conversation with a clinician may be helpful and is encouraged, it should not be required prior to vaccination as this may cause unnecessary barriers to access. We support additional data collection and research to continue to inform recommendations for these populations.
As vaccination becomes available, AAGL believes that both preventing the spread of existing COVID-19 infections and widespread vaccination are essential to control the pandemic and save lives.
It is incumbent upon health care professionals to familiarize themselves with existing trial data, including the unknowns, and to inspire confidence in the vaccine among our patients and other health care professionals. Health care professionals should continue to support efforts to collect data necessary for evidence-based recommendations.
For more information on FDA vaccine trials, click here:
For more information on World Health Organization vaccines, click here:
For more information on the vaccine in pregnant individuals, click here:
Released: August 27, 2020
American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) along with American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG), American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOOG), American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society (AGOS), American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOBOG), American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS), Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO), Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology (CUCOG), Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG), Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology (IDSOG), National Medical Association (NMA), Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology (SASGOG), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI), Society of Family Planning (SFP), Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), Society of Gynecologic Surgeons (SGS) – release a unified action plan addressing racism as outlined below.
As our nation confronts systemic racism and consequences of persistent inequities and disparate outcomes in health care, our organizations—which include the leading professional organizations in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology—are committed to changing the culture of medicine, eliminating racism and racial inequities that lead to disparate health outcomes, and promoting equity in women’s health and health care. Our commitment to a better future requires an honest examination of the past and the present.
Recognizing that race is a social construct, not biologically based, is important to understanding that racism, not race, impacts health care, health, and health outcomes. Systemic and institutional racism are pervasive in our country and in our country’s health care institutions, including the fields of obstetrics and gynecology.
Many examples of foundational advances in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology are rooted in racism and oppression. For example, the mid-1800s surgical experimentation of James Marion Sims leading to successful treatment of vesicovaginal fistula was performed on enslaved Black women, including three women, Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha, who underwent repetitive gynecologic procedures without consent.
Additionally, among many injustices, women of color have been subject to sterilization and experimentation with high-dose hormonal contraception without consent.
It is beyond the scope of this document to describe all the injustices inextricably linked to the fields of obstetrics and gynecology or recognize all the contributions made both willingly and unwillingly by oppressed and marginalized persons. Our organizations commit to working with scholars, advocates, and activists with diverse expertise and experiences as part of an intentional, sustained, and team-based effort to more extensively acknowledge the wide range of injustices.
We recognize that history weighs upon on the present and the future. Racism in overt and covert forms persists in the delivery of health care. Black women are three times more likely to experience maternal mortality or severe maternal morbidity than white women. American Indian and Alaska Native women experience adverse maternal outcomes at a greater rate than white women. Black and Latinx populations experience higher rates of mortality from cervical cancer than white women. Unacceptable inequities in access to care and outcomes are not limited to these examples; inequities are found across our specialty including reproductive and gynecological health care. Differences in outcomes result from many factors, including racism and bias in access to and delivery of quality health care, and must be acknowledged and addressed.
Eliminating inequities in women’s health care requires transformational change. Our organizations are committed to making this change and pledge, individually and collectively, to undertake the following initial actions:
• Collaboration: Our organizations recognize that transformative work is being done within the profession and the broader public health community by committed advocates, activists, scholars, and leaders. We will collaboratively consult, support, and partner with those presently engaged and leading work to achieve racial justice, reproductive justice, and equity in women’s health care.
• Education: We are committed to active listening and education in obstetrics and gynecology and in the broader women’s health community about the profession’s history and role in the oppression and mistreatment of Black enslaved women, Black women, and other women of color in the name of scientific advancement. Drawing upon the expertise of scholars, advocates, and activists, curricula will be developed and available to medical and health professional students, residents, faculty, practicing obstetricians, gynecologists, and all health care professionals.
• Recognition: We are committed to officially designating February 28 and March 1, the dates that bridge Black History and Women’s History months, as days for formal acknowledgment of Betsey, Lucy, and Anarcha, the enslaved women operated on by Dr. J. Marion Sims, and other enslaved Black women who were subjected to abuse in the name of advancing science.
• Scholarship, research, publication, guidance: Racism continues to be prevalent in research, in its conduct as well as its scholarship and publication. We will promote the conduct of research, publications, presentations, and other types of programming that incorporate anti-racism and address systemic and institutional racism manifested through disparate outcomes. We will make intentional and concerted efforts to support research that ethically addresses the needs of Black and Indigenous populations and populations of color and to promote the work and scholarship of physicians, clinicians, and public health professionals of color. We are committed to a comprehensive review of scholarship, clinical documents, research, and publication guidelines produced or directed through our organizations to address racism, in particular ensuring that race is not treated as a biological factor.
• Inclusive Excellence: We will work to achieve greater diversity and inclusion in the leadership of our own organizations at all levels. We will adopt policies and procedures that facilitate these goals and create an equitable and inclusive organizational culture. Within the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology, we will support policies, procedures, and the development of professional cultures where people of color are supported and promoted.
• Caring for patients and communities: We will work to ensure that health care is free from racism and bias. We will recognize the impact that history, racism, and violence have on our patients and their communities. We will treat discrimination and racism as evidence-based risk factors for poor health outcomes and will teach and encourage clinicians to recognize this in caring for patients. We will lift up, support, and amplify the work that community-based organizations, advocates, and activists are doing to advance reproductive justice and equity in the delivery of health care.
• Policy and advocacy: We will collectively advocate for public policies that seek to eliminate racial and other inequities in the delivery of health care and in health outcomes, including policies addressing systemic and institutional inequities outside of health care that lead to poor health outcomes.
Our organizations recognize that these actions require sustained, intentional commitment. We also recognize that to embark on this work will require team-based approaches with measurable goals and accountability structures. We also recognize that while these initial actions are a starting point, more work will need to be done. Through active listening, discernment, and humility, we will—individually and collectively—expand upon these actions and objectives as we undertake a commitment to embrace antiracism, learn and unlearn, change the culture of medicine, and eliminate racism and racial bias in the delivery of women’s health care.
To download the PDF, click here.