Loretta Lynn and Beyond: Reproductive Rights in Country and Folk Music
Gender

Loretta Lynn and Beyond: Reproductive Rights in Country and Folk Music

A slideshow of songs highlighting the once taboo topics of birth control, virginity, and divorce in rural America

Loretta Lynn waves after performing the song "Miss being Mrs." at the 39th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 26, 2004.
Loretta Lynn waves after performing the song "Miss Being Mrs." at the 39th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 26, 2004. REUTERS/Ethan Miller

Country music star Loretta Lynn died this week at age ninety. Born a coal miner's daughter in a rural Kentucky town, she rose to fame in the 1960s as an earnest, no-holds-barred female voice in the masculine country music scene. Her songs addressed then-taboo topics of birth control, virginity, and divorce in rural America, and several drew enough controversy to be taken off the radio. 

Sixty years later, access to reproductive health care is again in doubt in many parts of rural America, the very towns and people about which Lynn so powerfully sang. In honor of Lynn, we compiled a slideshow showcasing country and folk songs that highlight women's reproductive rights and concerns.  

 

 

 

Country and Folk Songs about Reproductive Rights

Country legend Loretta Lynn waves after performing during the "Grammy Salute to Country Music honoring Loretta Lynn" in Nashville, Tennessee, October 12, 2010.
Peggy Seeger smiling with the skyline of Manchester, England in the background.
Musician John Prine performs after accepting his PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston
Folk singer, activist and songwriter Malvina Reynolds as she appears in the film, 'Love It Like A Fool,' California, 1977.
Dolly Parton attending the 57th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas
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Country legend Loretta Lynn waves after performing during the "Grammy Salute to Country Music honoring Loretta Lynn" in Nashville, Tennessee, October 12, 2010. Peggy Seeger smiling with the skyline of Manchester, England in the background. Musician John Prine performs after accepting his PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston Folk singer, activist and songwriter Malvina Reynolds as she appears in the film, 'Love It Like A Fool,' California, 1977. Dolly Parton attending the 57th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas
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Isabella Turilli is a research associate for global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She has also served extensively as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the District of Columbia, and worked as an EMT instructor and quality improvement officer with Georgetown EMS and the DC Department of Health.

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