College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Policies & statements relevant to freedom of conscience
Agreement with Dr. Stephen Thomas Dawson (2002)
Reproduced with permission
As from August 22, 2002, Dr. Stephen Thomas Dawson undertakes to the
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario,
- To have copies of "Schedule 1" to his undertaking openly available
in his waiting room. [See Schedule 1 below.]
- To provide to his patients only the explanation in Schedule 1
explaining why he does not, in his practice,
a) prescribe birth control pills to unmarried patients for the
purpose of birth control;
b) prescribe Viagra to unmarried men;
c) participate in securing abortions for his patients
unless a patient should specifically request further information
about the religious beliefs on which his position is based.
On February 8, 2000, I [Dr. Stephen Thomas Dawson] established a policy
in this Medical Centre to stop prescribing birth control pills to unmarried
patients for the purpose of birth control. I also established a policy of
not prescribing Viagra to unmarried men.
I have never involved myself in abortions. As a Christian physician, the
prescription of birth control pills to unmarried women for birth control
purposes is contrary to the dictates of my conscience and religion.
Similarly, arranging for abortions and the prescription of Viagra to
unmarried men is contrary to the dictates of my conscience and religion.
According to the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, one of the
responsibilities of a physician is to inform the patient:
when his morality or religious conscience alone
prevents him from recommending some form of therapy . . .
In accordance with my Christian beliefs and the Canadian Medical
Association's Code of Ethics, I am setting out my policy so that you are
informed in advance of my beliefs and practice. If you wish further
information about the religious basis for my policy, please feel to ask me
The agreement was a consequence of a complaint to the College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario about a physician who refused to provie birth control prescriptions for unmarried patients. The complaint and circumstances are described in the following articles: