Second, public ethics bodies should be attentive to minority or disenfranchised voices, not only because they can enrich our public discourse, but also because sometimes they may be attached to important individual rights or serious religious or cultural concerns that ought to be respected, so far as possible, by public policy. The New Jersey Bioethics Commission, for example, grappled creatively with the problem of Orthodox Jewish concerns over the definition of death.
Third, failure to attend to significant minority concerns in the process of policy formation may render implementation of a policy more difficult or even impossible if it requires the cooperation of the affected minority group. The experience of the city of Baltimore in distributing the long-term contraceptive, Norplant®, in the city's predominantly African American public schools is illustrative. Although the facts are in dispute, a number of vocal African American clergymen protested that the planned distribution of Norplant was decided upon without adequate consultation with the African American community, and that it violated the ethical and religious norms of that community.
Concern for affected parties, including minorities, the disenfranchised, consumers, and public interest groups, should manifest itself not only in listening to the experiences and concerns of a wide variety of people, but also in the presence of representatives of such groups within the composition of the public ethics body itself. Some affected parties are difficult to recruit for membership on these bodies (e.g., psychotic individuals, drug users, and various persons suffering from serious addictions), so the bodies should seek not the affected parties themselves, but those who are known to be their dedicated advocates. Also, a seat at the table is sometimes demanded by persons who intend to champion a position and sway a deliberative body to accept it. This is undesirable for a public ethics body, which must be committed to impartiality and willingness to deliberate, yet the views of such parties deserve to be heard. Thus, advocacy should not have a seat, but appreciation and understanding of the advocates should, so as to guarantee that their interests and values will count in the body's deliberations (see the background paper by Bayer in this volume).
An important question bearing on the process of a public ethics body's deliberations, as opposed to the substance of its recommendations, concerns the conditions under which meetings will be held. Specifically, the issue is whether these groups should operate in the "sunshine"-that is, in