The pill

Published June 13, 2024

By Lib Campbell

Iconic country music singer Loretta Lynn caused a stir in 1975. At that time, birth control was a conversation held between a doctor and a patient, a husband and a wife, and a gaggle of women talking over coffee. The church had its opinions. Fundamentalists had theirs. But for most women, the pill was a gift of empowerment and liberation. Into this cauldron, Loretta Lynn wrote “The Pill.”

Ms. Lynn married at thirteen. She had her first baby at fourteen. By the time she was eighteen, she had four children. She had six children before she got the pill. Her lyrics tell the story.

The opening words of the song speak to the hope many a young girl has when they marry. “You wined me and dined me when I was your girl.” Loretta quickly realizes the wining and dining don’t last long. The world narrows to a bed, and a doctor bill as children come.

“All these years I’ve stayed at home while you had all your fun. And every year that’s gone by another baby’s come.” The female biology appears wide open to be taken advantage of. Lynn gets her redemption when she sings, “There’s gonna be some changes made right here on nursery hill. You’ve set this chicken one last time, ‘cause now I’ve got the pill.”

When I’ve heard Loretta interviewed, she reflected on just how much the pill had changed her life. Her chicken coop was torn down. Now she had a little more bodily autonomy and choice. I remember how the pill changed the ways of family planning and timing for starting a family. Finally, women realized, there could be pleasure and not just baby production in the bedroom.

If you have been paying attention, you know women’s reproductive rights are under attack. Choices are being made for women, not by doctors or families making decisions, but by politicians and a Supreme Court who want to take away a woman’s right to choose anything.

First it was Roe versus Wade. Let’s take that away and see what they do. Now the conversation is turning to birth control. That ought to teach them. Let me see, women have lost their options to end pregnancy at one end. Soon they will be denied birth control at the front end of the process, ending the choice to have children in the first place.

When they start selling chastity belts at Walmart, we all are in deep trouble. It’s almost a dystopian playing out of masculine control over women. Of course, they still want their ED medications. Got to keep something functioning.

It’s a little unbelievable that there are trucks riding around with a bumper sticker saying, “Repeal the 19th.” The 19thAmendment is the one that gave voting rights to women just about a hundred years ago.

Who knew women were so threatening?  It seems that only when rights are squelched and options are narrowed can we risk living with women. The hate mail I get is living proof to me that people resent outspoken women. I think I am in good company among uppity women.

Sadly, in too many quarters, it is women who hold women back. Years ago, I was planning a worship service where women were to hold all the places in morning worship. Preaching, reading Scripture, ushering. The hardest position to fill was ushering. Most of the women said, “that’s what the men do.” I was shocked then, especially when I see the all-women usher team in my church. They welcome, often with their daughters, handing out bulletins. It is a glorious sight.

I can’t tell you how often I was told women did not belong in the pulpit. Says so in Scripture. Scripture also says, “don’t eat pork.” We cherry-pick Scripture. It appears that women in ministry is an agenda item once again at the Baptist State Convention. Our dear Bishop Minnick when approached about why he was ordaining so many women replied, “When God stops calling women, I will stop ordaining.” Resistance met with reason and grace. What a gift!

I know justice moves forward in fits and starts. People sling insults without a thought and work against freedom and equality for anybody not white male. Here’s the deal. I will take your heat and raise you one. In a marriage, half the money belongs to the woman. And  - wait for it – look for television to be be the only thing playing in the bedroom. Birth rates are already dropping in America.

We’ll see how all this plays out at the ballot box.

Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader, columnist and host of the blogsite She can be contacted at