Katz served on a national panel that studied the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment on black men, which began in 1932 and was not uncovered until the 1970s. Syphilis treatment was denied to black men in order to study the illness.
Katz was an outspoken opponent of the use of data obtained from Nazi experimentation and was the first to call for a national board to oversee human experimentation.
Katz died Monday in New Haven of heart failure, according to the law school. He was 86.
He was a leader in reproductive technology law and ethics.
"As a doctor steeped in the law, Jay Katz illuminated better than anyone has before or since the complex of medical, legal and ethical choices that haunt the silent world of doctor and patient," said Harold Hongju Koh, dean of the law school.
Katz's first wife, Esta Mae, predeceased him in 1987. He is survived by his wife Marilyn, a son, two daughters, two stepdaughters, a brother and four grandchildren.