Interviewer: Your recent book is called Making Babies. So do you want one?
Laurie Penny: For me to be able to imagine having babies, the circumstances would have to change dramatically and I don't know if they ever will. It is a shame that women still have to choose between motherhood and everything else. Apart from that I'm not at all keen on pregnancy. There should really exist technological alternatives for that.
Interviewer: That's a joke, right?
Laurie Penny: No, I mean that entirely seriously. We need technological alternatives to pregnancy. Why aren't there any? Modern medicine can reattach limbs and transplant faces. Today so much is possible, that was unthinkable a few decades ago. Egg cells are already fertilised in test tubes. Why shouldn't babies be created in laboratories? Why is a technological alternative to the womb so inconceivable?...I don't understand at all, what is crazier about this than the idea of transplanting an arm, a heart or a face.
Interviewer: Wouldn't it be a disadvantage for women, if machines took away from them the bearing of children? After all, the ability to bear children is a unique characteristic of women.
Laurie Penny: It is a female superpower! But women with superpowers have to be controlled and criticised. Therefore motherhood is on the one hand so elevated, that women who decide against it are seen as odd. Women who have an abortion are expected at some time to regret it. The woman who never became a mother must be sad about it in old age. At the same time mothers are blamed if they achieve the aim of becoming solo mothers, even though they in fact do something wonderful and selfless for all of us. To define pregnancy and motherhood as work and also to pay it as such would actually be the least thing to do.
What can you say? Laurie Penny is probably right that one day scientists will come up with an artificial womb. But her lack of connection to the idea of physically bearing a child is telling. So too is her primary concern that women be able to have their children without the support of a male partner - that instead motherhood should be commodified - treated in market terms as a productive activity - and paid for, presumably by the state.
She doesn't state it directly, but it seems that Laurie Penny doesn't want to have a child together with a man. She wants the child developed in a lab by scientists and then she wants to be paid for the work she does to bring it up as its mother.