Our Principles and Values
CPL’s principles are based on the life-affirming Hippocratic Oath. CPL is open to all doctors and students who share the following beliefs:
• Reverence for every human life, regardless of age or infirmity, lies at the root of all medical tradition.
• Recognition that the long and honourable ethical tradition of medical sciences through the ages has been expressed and protected by the oath of Hippocrates.
• Conscious that human life begins at conception and a recognition that to cause the death of a human being directly, at any stage in life, because of physical or mental disabilities, or for social, economic, ecological or eugenic reasons, is a gross injustice to the person, degrading to humanity, and contradictory to the role of the physician.
• Understanding that there are two patients in every pregnancy. The physician bears the medical responsibility for the lives of both the mother and her unborn child.
• Belief that it must be the goal of medical science and its practitioners to preserve and protect human life, to relieve suffering and to promote healing.
Founded in 1975, Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL) is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the respect and ethical treatment of every human being, regardless of age or infirmity.
Canadian Physicians for Life seeks to promote public awareness of and professional adherence to the time-honoured Hippocratic medical tradition, which affirms the inviolability of every human life. CPL members include physicians, retired physicians, medical residents, and students committed to building a culture of care, compassion, and life.
This is an unprecedented time in Canadian history. Doctors and medical students are facing new and challenging ethical issues: abortion on demand, the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, and scientific advances in genetic and reproductive technologies. These new ethical issues arise at the same time as Canada sees a shift in its approach to and understanding of the dignity of human life.
Given these changing times, the work of CPL is needed now more than ever before.
CPL’s Impact on the Canadian Medical Community
A young, rural Ontario pro-life doctor encounters a scared patient who is pregnant and wants an abortion. In BC, an experienced pro-life physicans is faced with a terminally-ill patient whose family is encouraging him to consider assisted suicide. During his OB-GYN rotation, a pro-life medical student in Alberta is told to participate in an abortion.
Imagine that you are one of these pro-life doctors or a young medical student. Faced with career and life-altering situations, who can you speak to? Who can you turn to during this time? In that moment, can you imagine a Canada without CPL?
The presence of medical professionals who adhere to the Hippocratic tradition is needed on medical school campuses, in hospitals and in the public square. No one is better placed than CPL to support those physicians and provide the resources they need.
Students and physicians supported and equipped by CPL tell us they have the courage and resources to challenge the status quo, to share their convictions and concerns with their colleagues and superiors, and to advocate for life-affirming treatment and protocols. They can protect vulnerable patients and save lives.
Meet Our Team
Our 11 member board is comprised of physicians and medical students. Many of our board members begin serving on the board when they were medical students. They offer a unique perspective since they first engaged with CPL as sponsored students at our conference and now provide the same opportunities to medical students through their time, talents and financial support.
Dr. Ryan Wilson, President
Ryan Wilson is a graduate of UBC Medicine and completed Family Medicine residency in 2017. Residing in Kelowna, BC with his wife and three children, he practices Family Medicine as well as Emergency Medicine in rural and northern communities. He has served on the board of CPL since 2011.
Dr. Will Johnston, Past President
Will Johnston practices full-service family medicine and obstetrics in Vancouver, BC. He is the chair of the Euthansia Prevention Coaltion of BC and past-president of CPL, serving on the board since 1979. After first working in emergency rooms, he started a family practice in 1985.
Nicole Scheidl, Executive Director
Nicole completed her law degree at Osgoode Hall (1988) and received her master’s in law from Queens University (1999). Joining CPL in 2018, she brings her experience as a lawyer, educator, administrator and businesswoman to the position of Executive Director.