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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Repression of Conscience

Disciplinary Hearing of Doctor Who Won't Prescribe Pill Open to Public

Dr. Dawson Requests Prayers and Letters of Support

Life Site News
22 February, 2002
Reproduced with permission


BARRIE, ON, February 22, 2002 ( - Dr. Stephen Dawson, the family doctor who is in danger of losing his medical licence over his refusal to prescribe the birth control pill to unmarried women clarified his position in an interview with LifeSite last night. Dr. Dawson told LifeSite that the initial coverage in the Barrie Examiner suggested he may compromise on the matter. He clarified: "Under no circumstances will I compromise. I would rather lose my licence."

He said that he would not apologize for refusing to offer the pill to unmarried women but would apologize for the perhaps "overzealous manner in which I presented my case to these women initially."

Dr. Dawson told LifeSite he was pro-life and thus would never offer abortions, or the abortifacient morning-after pill. But as he did not feel the birth control pill to be abortifacient, (despite its ingredients and operation being very similar to the morning-after pill) he would not prescribe the pill to unmarried women or Viagra to unmarried men since by doing so he would be promoting sex outside of marriage.

"Honoring the Hippocratic Oath I feel that I must tell the patient about these concerns otherwise I am advocating a treatment that would (spiritually) harm," said Dr. Dawson. Dr. John Patrick, Director of Public Policy of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS) of Canada echoed these concerns to LifeSite. Apart from all the medical and psychological concerns over abortion and abortifacient drugs, Dr. Patrick explained that
physicians with a faith in God approach situations of moral concerns from a radically different perspective than do physicians of no faith. Dr. Patrick compared the viewpoint of an abortionist to that of a Christian doctor. An abortionist when confronted with a woman deciding to have an abortion sees a patient who is has chosen the least troublesome of undesirable alternatives. However, faced with the same situation, the Christian doctor would see two patients before him, one of whom is going to die and the other who is
putting herself at risk of eternal death. The CMDS is following Dr. Dawson's case closely and is willing to intervene in the case on his behalf.

The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is also interested in the case. CCRL Vice President Phil Horgan told LifeSite: "It is important to cite the principle from Canada's first case on religious freedom (by Supreme Court Chief Justice Dickson [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295, at 336-7) in R v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd.: "Freedom means that, subject to such limitations as are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, no one is to be forced to act in a way contrary to his beliefs or his conscience."

"If Dr. Dawson has been charged with failing to meet the overall moral and professional standard of care, will the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario suggest that morality and professionalism are distinct? If not, what morality are they proposing to impose?", asked Horgan.

Dr. Dawson requested prayer and letters of support. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told LifeSite that the disciplinary hearing on Dr. Dawson's case to be held April 16-19 at 80 College St. in Toronto are open to the public.

Send letters of support to Dr. Dawson at:
Doctor's Family Medical & Walk-In Clinic
353 Duckworth St, Barrie, ON L4M 5C2



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