State of New Jersey
Commission on Legal
and Ethical Problems in the
Delivery of Health Care
To the Editors:
I have recently learned of the creation of your new English-language journal on medical ethics and would like to enter my subscription, dating back to your first issue. I will probably want to receive mailings by air mail. Could you please forward (by air) necessary subscription information and rates along with copies of any already published issues?
I understand that you have put together a bibliography of scholarly writings of Jewish medical ethics in Western languages. For future editions, you may wish to be aware of my article, “On the Bioethics of Jewish Law: The Case of Karen Quinlan,” published in the July 1979 issue of Israel Law Review (vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 337-368).
I also thought you might be interested in some of the recent work of the New Jersey Bioethics Commission, a state study com- mission responsible to the State Legislature and Governor. The commission has approved and forwarded to the State Legislature a proposed Declaration of Death Act that would, for the first time in an American jurisdiction, recognize exemptions from the application of legally recognized brain death criteria on the basis of the individual’s religious beliefs or moral conviction. These beliefs may be expressed in a variety of ways, including a statement in an advance directive for health care (analogous to a so-called “living will”). The individual’s preferences regarding organ transplantation could also be expressed in this fashion. These instruments would provide useful mechanism enabling individuals to express, and to have respected, their personal convictions based on religious law, in the context of a secular, pluralistic legal order. Copies of the commission’s legislative proposals on declaring death and advance directives are enclosed. These may be of interest to some of your readers. I would be very interested in any materials you are aware of relating to recent Israeli developments on brain death and heart transplants.
I would also like to bring to your attention soon-to-be- published articles by Charlotte Goldberg of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (“Choosing Life after Death: Respecting Religious Beliefs and Moral Convictions of Near Death Decisions”) and by Louis Newman of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota (“The Problem of Interpretation in Contemporary Jewish Ethics”). Both articles are thoughtful, interesting, and likely to be of interest to your readership. You may wish to consider establishing a regular “In The Literature” column to alert readers to such items.
Best of luck with your new journal.
Alan J. Weisbard
Source: ASSIA – Jewish Medical Ethics,
Vol. I, No. 2, May 1989, p. 56