Demonstration at CMA offices arranged as part of this year’s ‘March for Life’ events

Thirty years of legalized abortion won’t be the only thing pro-lifers from across Canada will be protesting against when they gather in Ottawa this May for the annual March for Life event.

The day before the March itself, demonstrators will gather outside the offices of the Canadian Medical Association to take to task that organization for its refusal to uphold the historic Hippocratic Oath. The demonstrators will also call for a return of adherence to the oath – including its prohibitions on abortion and doing harm to the patient – in Canadian medical practice.

“We’ll be asking them to bring back the Hippocratic Oath, which has, for all practical purposes, been abandoned by the CMA,” said Dr. Andre Lafrance, an Ottawa area physician, member of Physicians for Life, and conceiver of the idea to hold the demonstration. “For (the CMA), the Hippocratic Oath is just a historical accident. They’ve pretty well forgotten about it. They do as if it didn’t exist anymore.”

Dr. Lafrance said the CMA is the correct target for such a demonstration, not the College of Physicians and Surgeons. “It is the CMA that promulgates a code of ethics, which doctors have a moral obligation to abide by,” he said.

Paul Lauzon, an organizer at the Ottawa-Carleton office of Campaign Life Coalition (which is co-ordinating the planning and staging of the event with Lafrance), said it is hoped that several hundred people will show up at the demonstration outside the CMA offices.

He said the demonstration will immediately follow a banquet scheduled for the Congress Centre the day before the March for Life. The demonstration will take place during a period of time in which pro-lifers will make appointments to visit their MPs to make their views known on the abortion issue. Those not meeting their MPs will be encouraged to hop a bus and go to the CMA demonstration instead. “We’re hoping for a good turnout,” said Lauzon.

He anticipates the event will last about an hour, with 20 minutes devoted to speeches, likely featuring a member of Canadian Physicians for Life. Lafrance will then relay the speaker’s message in French.

Lauzon said the event may mark the beginning of a national campaign to encourage Canadian citizens to quiz their doctors about where they stand on the Hippocratic Oath, and whether they adhere to it.