The Massachusetts Death With Dignity Act will appear on the November 6, 2012 general election ballot. Supporters argue that the measure would give “terminally ill” patients dignity and control over their deaths, and would alleviate suffering. Opponents argue that the measure is morally wrong, and that beneficiaries of “terminally ill” patients could abuse the provisions presented by the proposal. Paul A. Spiers, PhD and John S. Howland, M.D. will discuss the pros and cons of this initiative.

The Salem Explorers Lifelong Learning Institute at Salem State College is organizing a public forum on PAS on Tuesday, August 14 (11AM – 1PM) – Massachusetts Death With Dignity Act: Why or Why Not? The forum is not a debate but a presentation from each side, pro/con.  The forum will be targeted to those over 50.

The presenter on the anti-PAS side will speak at 11am. This will be John Howland MD (see below)


Doctors Against Suicide
Southbridge, MA
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asks for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.” —from the Oath of Hippocrates

The presenter on the pro-PAS side will speak at 12pm. This will be Paul Spiers, PhD (see below)


Danvers, MA
Dr. Spiers is a forensic neuropsychologist and is on faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine. Patients’ rights have always been important to him as a professional, but those rights and the choices provided by the ADA became even more important after a paralyzing fall left him in a wheelchair. Dr. Spiers has been President of the Board of Directors of Compassion & Choices and is currently Chair of the Board for an end of life choice, disability rights advocacy organization, AUTONOMY.