Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
www.consciencelaws.org
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Canada

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

Policies relevant to freedom of conscience

Links and annotations

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,

  1. To have copies of "Schedule 1" to his undertaking openly available in his waiting room. [See Schedule 1 below.]
  2. 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.

Schedule 1:

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 about it.

Project Annotations

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:


Full TextProfessional Obligations and Human Rights
Approved September, 2008 | Reviewed and Updated March, 2015

Full TextAdvice to the Profession: Professional Obligations and Human Rights

Full TextMedical Assistance in Dying
Approved June, 2016 | Reviewed and Updated: July 2017, December 2018

Full TextAdvice to the Profession: Medical Assistance in Dying