But if you think about where the anti-abortionists stand on all of this, the sanctity of life by their logic is determined by the coexistence of the soul with the body in a sort of "continuum." Conveniently, the "soul" coexists with the "body" (i.e. cluster of cells attached to the wall of a uterus) at the exact moment of conception--the soul does not pre-exist its host body--but is somehow "immortal" from the moment of conception onward, and at the same time not reliant on the host body for its existence post-death.
Yes, such absolutists always condemn themselves to endless circular reasoning and bizarre contradiction, then seeking to escape such deadlocks by simply moving the goal-posts yet again: if the soul is itself immortally 'born' at conception (though how a soul's emergent metaphysical, noumenal existence could be contingent on the material environment without being a part of, immanent to that material environment is never even addressed) and therefore not dependent in any way on the 'host-body' post-conception for its continued immortality, then, again, what happens the foetus/body post-conception becomes unimportant. Of course, when faced with this dilemma, they simply move/displace their 'argument' once again: no, the soul is not 'fully' immortal at conception, but only becomes so at birth! Hilarious, this latter 'argument' is even more contingent: the 'soul' takes time to develop its immortal powers, the same precious 9-month length of time as that of pregnancy itself! Alternatively, why do anti-abortionists oppose biogenetic cloning with sentimentally superstitious appeals to the 'unfathomable mystery of the conception' as if by cloning their physical bodies they are simultaneously cloning their immortal souls?
All of this spurious, hysterical form of argument has nothing to do with reasoning at all, but ultimately simply another version of the Kantian categorical imperative and an empty appeal to a supernatural authority: the soul is immortal because it must be! [and because God says so, etc], the negative corollory of which leads to absolute moral injunctions. "You must not ever have an abortion because you should not" etc.
Returning, then, to the human cloning issue and those who oppose it (both immortal soul fantasists and humanists alike), the argument is usually that it should not be allowed because it would involve the reduction of a human being to an entity whose psychic properties can be manipulated. If biogenetics reduces humans to objects open to manipulation, then Nature, human and inhuman, is 'desubstantialised', its 'impenetrable density' (similar to what Heidegger called 'earth') is fatally undermined. Nature itself is therefore lost. This clearly also eviserates the humanist position, the belief that man is at the centre of the universe and that humanity relies on the belief that we possess an inherited 'human nature', that we are spirited into the world with an unfathomable dimension of ourselves (rather than this being a structural effect of the social construction of the ego during infancy). It seems, therefore, that both soul-supernaturalists and (even atheistic) humanists invoke Wittgenstein's mantra whenever the precious inner human self is threatened: 'Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.' In other words, they want to assert that we must not ever engage in cloning, because otherwise we may indeed do it, with - somehow unspecified - catastrophic psychological and ethical results. If the humanist, Christian and other opponents of cloning believe in the immortality of the soul or in the holistic uniqueness of the mystical personality - i.e. that I am not just the arbitrarily contingent result of the immanent, seething interaction between my genetic code and my environment - then why do they all insist on opposing cloning? Is it the implication, the secret, dreaded possibility that they do in fact believe - but, as with all other contemporary beliefs, in the form of a disavowal - in the ability of genetics to reach the very hard kernal of our posited 'personality', the last bastion of the Ego and pure, solipsistic subjectivity?
Of course, the real problem with cloning is ideological: social power and the cloning agenda resides in the hands of capitalist multinationals and wealthy elites, and so it needs to be controlled to prevent further class warfare and social exclusion and antagonism. Much like everything else under late capital.
If you're going to believe in souls, I suppose Hinduism makes slightly more sense, in that it doesn't posit a pseudo-"immortality" where the transcendental stuff of life is somehow also reliant on material/physical beings for its very existence. For Hindus souls just keep being reembodied in a cycle that presumably extends infinitely backward to "creation" and forward to nirvana or karmic fulfillment...
How many hundred million hypertext markup lifetimes does a soul require for nirvana, and how did this fallen nomadic soul lose it in the first place ??