Cyndi Lauper is standing up for choice.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and federal abortion protections, the singer is launching the Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights Fund.
“If you don’t have control over your own body, how can you be anything but a second-class citizen? Now, the government has control over your body — not you. What should be a private medical decision between you and your doctor is now a government decision,” Lauper told People. “So, this is a big issue for me.”
The 69-year-old also talked about her own relationship to feminism and how the name of the fund was inspired by signs she saw at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
“When most women would say, ‘What are you, a feminist?’ And people would go, ‘Well, I’m really a humanist.’ I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m a feminist. I burned my training bra,'” she said. “Then in 2017, I saw these young girls with these ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights’ signs, and I felt like, ‘You know what? It was all worth it.’ The little ones, they heard me.”
Looking back on her 1983 classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, Lauper admits she didn’t realize how inspiring it would be to fans.
“It wasn’t political, but in a lot of ways it was, because how dare I say that women should come together and be joyful?” she said. “When I used to go on tour, I actually saw grandmothers, mothers and daughters — three generations. It just made it worthwhile to me.”
The artist also shared how watching her late mother Catrine going through multiple divorces helped instil feminist values in her.
“I got to see first-hand the inequalities and the dichotomy of what it was like to be a woman in the world,” she explained. “In a lot of ways, I’m glad I knew at a very young age. I had a very low level for BS.”
Recalling the time they spent together in her mother’s final days, Lauper said, “She was in hospice, and we were together. We tried to make it as comfortable as I could for her. We made it like a spa. She was incredible, and I’m just lucky that I got to have her as my mom because it inspired me to do so many things, including this Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights Fund.”
With the launch of the fund, Lauper has also released an acoustic version of her 1993 song “Sally’s Pigeons”, which tells the story of a teenager who gets pregnant and then dies after having a back-alley abortion.
“[‘Sally’s Pigeons’] was about newspaper headlines — ‘Found Another Dead Young Woman.’ [There were] lots of dead young women from illegal abortions that were not safe because you couldn’t have a safe procedure,” Lauper recalled. “Young people don’t know what it was like. I saw it every day. I knew how it affected a lot of young women.”