What you will read herein is this author's projection, grounded on the trajectory of current events. And there are certainly more issues at hand than supposed herein. Time may reveal more issues or eliminate the likelihood of others. This thought exercise is intended to shed light on potential consequences, particularly moral, on the matter of human cloning.
1. Are the cloned human?
The cloned may or may not have umbilical cords and will not be the product of man and woman conjugal union. They will not be the direct result of a physical expression of a loving action. An obvious question will be whether or not a person's "humanity" depends on that natural union. I would surmise the Church would consider such person's human, just as those who are born today by means of in vitro fertilization. Even though those born via in vitro are conceived in a manner outside the conjugal act, such persons are still welcomed to baptism, which is only receivable by a human being. Basic clones generated in a lab from a single sperm and egg will be recognized as human just as anyone else.
For her part, the Church in such cases might at least perform "conditional" baptisms. This would be similar to a conditional baptism bestowed on a person unsure if he/she had previously been baptized. In the case of a clone, the baptism might be administered on the condition that the recipient is indeed a human being.
In civil life, there will be a number of legal cases that will be considered landmarks regarding the human status of the cloned. However, these cases will be difficult precedents if the cloning process continues to evolve and if persons are developed by multiple methods. So, for instance, if a court determined that a five-parent-one-other-mammal person merited full human rights, the precedent might not stand if a future case arose regarding a person generated from seven-human-parents-and-one-reptile.
These speculative examples may be fanciful. But they are designed more to demonstrate the difficulties that will arise the further mankind gets from matrimonial, conjugal offspring. Clones with greater and greater aberrations will suffer tremendous psychological difficulties, wondering what they are, whether they are human. The human DNA written in their fabric will alert them to the abnormalities within themselves. The natural arrangement of mother-father-child will arise as a discovery to the pensive mind of some of these clones, alerting them that something is disordered. This will cause great psychological trauma in some clones and families.
2. Clones will not have parental attachment
Written in the fabric of normative human generation are parents who have a certain attachment to offspring that is "of oneself." Paternal and maternal instincts can be seen in parents' protective tendencies toward their children. In fact, when a parent fails in this obligation, we recognize the violation committed by that parent. Phrases like "dead-beat dad" are evidence that a father has failed in his attachment to his own child.
Let's say an infertile couple in the future goes to a cloning market and selects a "child" to be developed for them. This is different from in vitro in which the father's sperm is united to the mother's egg and the child is developed in the womb. This is a "child" developed wholly in a laboratory according to whatever catalog options are offered by the cloning company. By commodotizing the child, parental attachment will suffer. If the child grows up to have criminal or unsatisfactory tendencies, the "parents" will be more apt to blame the "failure" on the cloning company. It will be easier to dismiss a child as a corporation's failure versus a child raised out of conjugal love, the direct gift of one's conjugal action.
From this, complexities will arise among parents who adopt clones. There will be a market for "returned" clones who did not meet the satisfaction of the adopting parents. Psychological problems will run rampant among clones, particularly among those who are rejected as corporate defects. Their plight could turn very ugly.
3. "Abortions" of clones will find new debate
Abortions of lab-generated clones may occur if the clone is not developing according to the customer's order. There will be debates as to what should happen with cancelled orders. Should the clone be terminated? If so, the same debate we have with abortion today will characterize the termination of developing clones. As speculated in point #1, simpler clones will be considered human. So at what point in the laboratory development period will such a clone be considered human? Will there be a legal point at which a customer who orders a clone can no longer reject the product produced?
Rejected clones who are not terminated will suffer terrible psychological strains of inadequacy. Mental illness will be an enormous problem in the future, both among clones, and among a society whose expectation of custom-made satisfaction will permeate their everyday attitudes.
Even today, the "my body, my choice" argument is a red herring because it does not take into account the baby, who is essential to the pro-life movement's perspective. But when women order a lab-made child through a catalog, they will not be able to abort the child under the guise of doing what she wants with "her body." With a lab-generated baby, a couple, or an individual "ordering" a clone will have no such so-called right. Their argument will come from commerce and the power of the dollar with which they ordered the clone.
Those who order clones and seek to terminate their order prior to completion may seek refuge, not in "my body, my choice," but "my possession, my choice." It is difficult to determine what kind of traction such a specious argument might boast. But it will nonetheless be a serpentine diversion away from the violation of another being that takes place in an abortion.
For their part, the Church will oppose abortion of the developing clone, even if there is some question as to the humanity of the clone.
Today, some politically correct feminists accuse the Church's pro-life stance of being a means to control women unjustly. In the future, if persons are generated in labs, this argument won't even have specious merit if the Church voices a pro-life stance for the developing laboratory clone.
4. Good "health" will be used as a pro-cloning argument
On the eve of mass-cloning, proponents of the measure will abandon the moral consequences of lab-generated persons in favor of producing persons with good health. Over time, the cloning process will tend toward producing healthier and stronger beings, immune to old diseases. While healthiness on its face is a "good," such proponents will not be able to counter moral arguments against a person's right to be born of conjugal love. And, as supposed in this article, mental unhealthiness will spread. Written in the fiber of human DNA is a person's desire to be loved and raised by his natural parents. We can see evidence of this in the many difficulties that plague children of fatherless homes.
5. More legal problems relating to clones
Presumably, when a couple or person orders a clone from a catalog, the corporation will require legal indemnification once the clone leaves its possession. In other words, the buyer will have to sign a document absolving the company of liability if the clone should not meet expectations once bought or if the clone commits a crime, etc.
However, legal cases will arise in which the customer will accuse the corporation of deception if the clone fails to meet expectations. For example, if a teenage clone commits murder, the buying parents will seek recourse to hold the corporation liable in spite of the indemnifying document signed. The parents' attorneys will argue that the corporation willingly sold a flawed clone to parents who had no way of knowing the clone would have criminal tendencies.
There will also be cases in which the clones themselves will bring lawsuit against their manufacturers. The clones' attorneys will argue that the cloning corporation did not take proper care of the clone during development, which resulted in some health or social defect. These cases will add to the psychological disaster bound to raze at the hearts of clones, and at a society that spars with making sense of their identity as fully human or otherwise.