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Long before he became America's preeminent conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer was a practicing physician in Boston. Now, the psychiatrist turned commentator is offering a prescription for his Republican Party suffering from the blowback of its war on women. The antidote to the yawning gender gap expanded by GOP proclamations about "legitimate rape" and other "gifts from God," Dr. Krauthammer announced in the Washington Post on Thursday, is simply to accuse Democrats of infanticide.

In his screed on "How to Debunk the 'War on Women,'" Krauthammer suggested Republicans should be "sticking to policy and forswearing amateur psychology should apply to every so-called women's issue."

Take abortion, which is the subtext of about 90 percent of the alleged "war on women," the charge being that those terrible conservative men are denying women control of their reproductive health.

Yet there is a very simple, straightforward strategy for seizing the high ground on abortion in a way that transcends the normal divisions and commands wide popular support: Focus on the horror of late-term abortion -- and get it banned.

Please read below the fold for more on Krauthammer's advice for the GOP.

After putting the Republican patient on the couch, Dr. Krauthammer's therapy calls for pushing a 20 week abortion ban. After all, he argues, voters still recall the image of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. And as the successful GOP campaign in 2003 to ban the rare but medically necessary "partial birth abortion" procedure shows, Republicans can demonize opponents of 20 week laws as supporters of infanticide:

How else to describe crushing the infant's skull in mid-delivery before the head leaves the birth canal?...

Here we are dealing with a child that could potentially live on its own -- if not killed first. And killing it, for any reason other than to save the mother's life, is an abomination. Outlawing that -- state by state and nationally, as was done with partial birth abortion in 2003 -- should be the focus of any Republican's position on abortion...

Stay away from the minefield of gender politics. Challenge the other side on substance. And watch them lose.

Unfortunately, Dr. Krauthammer has misdiagnosed his patient's condition.

Abortion is not "the subtext of about 90 percent of the alleged 'war on women.'"  Instead, conservative stands on a broad constellation of issues—equal pay, protection from workplace discrimination, access to reproductive and other health services—are alienating American women, especially the unmarried. The right-wing jihad against Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with pap smears, breast cancer screenings and access to contraception, is just a comically pathetic smokescreen. (Texas learned that the hard way when it tried to slash $73 million in taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, only to discover that caring for 23,760 more babies resulting from reduced access to state-subsidized birth control would cost the Lone Star State almost four times as much.)

When it comes to women's reproductive rights, the party that claims to protect "the doctor-patient relationship" is instead mandating medical malpractice. In many states, doctors must perform unneeded, unwanted and invasive ultrasounds in facilities which now require the same capabilities as full hospitals. And while physicians are legally protected when they refuse to inform patients about possible birth defects, they must warn women about "fetal pain" and mythical links to breast cancer and so-called "post-abortion syndrome." While doctors' free speech rights are curtailed, patients are deceived, duped and defrauded.

(Dr. Krauthammer's own fraud extends to Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. He charged that the "major feature" of the draconian legislation Davis famously filibustered was "outlawing abortions beyond 20 weeks." But the much broader HB2 included new clinic requirements and physician admitting privileges that would shutter 90 percent of the facilities in the state.)

Of course, Republicans have long since given the game away. During a 2008 presidential debate with Barack Obama, John McCain used air quotes to mock "the health of the mother" and with it, American women:

"Just again, the example of the eloquence of Sen. Obama. He's [for] health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything. That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, 'health.'"
McCain was just following the footsteps of Paul Ryan. In an April 2000 debate on the House floor, Congressman Ryan took exception to proposals to include a "health of the mother exception" to a partial birth abortion bill:
"The health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless."
Back in 2009, Charles Krauthammer marked 25 years in punditry by recalling "an intern at the New Republic asked me how to become a nationally syndicated columnist. 'Well,' I replied, 'first you go to medical school.'"

And then forget your oath to "do no harm."

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:38 PM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More Hair Dye! /nt (5+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:44:54 PM PST

  •  Well, that doesn't actually sound much different (17+ / 0-)

    that what the RW of the republican party has been saying all along.  But in reality, I'd love to meet even the full term child, already given birth to, that could 'potentially live on its own'.  What, is it going to hunt down food and drink and shelter?

    What he presumably means is that he considers 20-week old fetuses to be capable of surviving when provided all of the same care as any full term infant.  Which is total bunk.  Preemies, especially that young, will require hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in special care merely to survive their first few months on earth, and many (most) of them will have serious health issues that will shorten their overall expected lifespan by decades, at the same time they cause families to disintegrate under pressure, and lead to far higher rates of divorce in such families.

    The only reason to keep pushing length-of-pregnancy based legislation that continues to shrink the window of available abortions is to create ever more ability to simply deny women any chance of abortion.

  •  I always get Charles Krauthammer (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, NormAl1792, Bluefin, JeffW, Ahianne

    ....and Thomas Friedman mixed up, since they're both right-wing pundits with very limited articulation and after reading their abuse of the language I feel filthy.  

    Here's more of the same.  He is right that whining about the fetus that "It's a bay-bee!" will have a limited success with low information voters who are generally pronatalist and believe what resonates with their prejudices.  

    The problem is fewer and fewer meet that criteria.  The Right loves to crow Millenials tend to be more "pro-life" than GenXers and Boomers and they're right - but they misread the how and why there.  Millenials understand ALL about childhood poverty and teen pregnancy - but they also understand demonizing the woman who aborts is no solution.  Like the pregnant teen in Diablo Cody's "Juno" many would see the decision to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term as admirable, but that doesn't translate into forcing it.  When kids get killed by IEDs every day in Africa and the Mideast, restricting a woman's right to an abortion is a highly selective "pro-life" action which betrays the hypocricy of its advocates.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:58:11 PM PST

  •  No one has a late abortion unless there are (18+ / 0-)

    serious fact...these are the ones that should never be banned

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:01:37 PM PST

  •  Beat me to the punch, Doc... (12+ / 0-)

    Even for that full-term baby, they would deny the mother pre-natal care, hospital delivery and post pediatric care; not mention child care, pre-school, food and housing.  They are "pro-life," all right.

  •  Here's my prescription: (6+ / 0-)

    Stop the political bashing on ALL women for ANY reason.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:04:07 PM PST

  •  "So-called women's issues"?! Is he (4+ / 0-)

    kidding? Men have no need for contraception or abortion, but Krauthammer, former physician and full-time picture of Dorian Gray, tells us wimmins that it isn't our issue at all. Because. He. Says. So.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:10:12 PM PST

  •  My far RWNJ brother is slowly, a paragraph at a (6+ / 0-)

    a time, when he can work it in, reading Cadaver Krauthammers'  latest turgid tome to me.

    Oh beneficent FSM, please intercede with Thy Noodly Appendage, and wrench that book from his hands (not even Thine omnipresent power could ever enlighten their dark minds though).

    "The church of life is not in a building, it is the open sky, the surrounding ocean, the beautiful soil"...George Helm, 1/1977

    by Bluefin on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:19:51 PM PST

  •  But Chuck (5+ / 0-)

    you guys like talking about women's libidos too much to give it up and focus on abortion.  Those old white GOP males  like thinking about those slutty, slutty, young sluts, sluttin' around so much they need  all that contraception, all those HPV vaccines...  

    They like to imagine the ones who their Daddies tole them rape easy. They like thinking about all those sluts who illegitimately  claim rape when they secretly wanted it.

    Your guys like thinking about this stuff and like talking about it too much to give it up.

    If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious. Douglas Adams

    by trillian on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:46:18 PM PST

  •  And this is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anon004, Jollie Ollie Orange

    What passes for reasoned commentary from the Right.

    The mind, it boggles.

  •  So, his prescription is to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jollie Ollie Orange

    curtail abortion rights, force women to be human incubators (women don't have abortions past 20 weeks unless either they have very serious health issues or the fetus has such serious problems it won't be viable after its born), be they alive or dead, and then explain again how this stays away from "the minefield of gender politics"?

    Can't this person understand that any time men like him propose taking the choice away from women to determine their reproductive choices from birth control all the way through medically necessary late-term abortions, he is smack dab in the center of the minefield of gender politics?  What an idiot!

  •  I work in a small community hospital (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jollie Ollie Orange, Mayfly

    When I am aware that a woman is in our maternity unit waiting for labor to continue so she can deliver a fetus or baby that she know is no longer alive, I can almost feel the emotional pain throughout the building,  Most people there are not aware of it.

    It would to me feel no different if she were waiting to deliver a baby that she knows cannot survive outside her body.  She may have know for quite awhile that it has a fatal anomaly, but she has been forced to carry it to term.  I suppose some would say that that baby would not suffer at birth.... the pain for both mother and child would be more than they should ever have to endure.

  •  I wonder if any of these guys like Krauthammer (0+ / 0-)

    have actually read the Roe v. Wade decision.  It was a compromise and a reasonable one.

    The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

    by Mayfly on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 03:08:46 PM PST

  •  Dangerous to Women (4+ / 0-)

    That's what we should say: Republican policies are Dangerous. Give em a new slogan to defend against, keepem off balance.

  •  How to stop the war on women (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, OldDragon

    get government right into a womans personal life, and put abortion right up on top of the headlines.

    Hardly a day goes by that one of these clowns starts yapping about abortion.

    They never come running and crying if poor people die. WTF its a war on women on steroids.

    Just another way to divide us so we can't kick their lousy butts in the elections.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:57:00 PM PST

  •  I'm tired of evil OLD men talking about us, STFU (10+ / 0-)

    Don't like abortion, don't have one; otherwise it's none of your biz.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:03:55 PM PST

  •  Krauthammer and the republican ...... (5+ / 0-) need the help of a proctologist to get their collective heads out of their asses.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:10:13 PM PST

  •  That's small government conservatism for ya! (2+ / 0-)

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:16:26 PM PST

  •  Who cares what this hair dyed phony piece of crap (4+ / 0-)

    thinks anyway.

    He is disgusting as he presents on the TeeVee.  Can you imagine being treated for anything except a boil on your ass by Charles Krauthammer?

  •  Focus on the horror (5+ / 0-)

    of letting women survive if they have medical problems late in a pregnancy?

    Great plan, Chuck.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:23:26 PM PST

  •  Roe v. Wade (1973) (4+ / 0-)

    2013 - 1973 = 40
    If you are still being a dick after forty years , see your doctor .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:23:45 PM PST

  •  "Mein Führer...!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    "I can W A L K!"

  •  Krauty's Stereotype Mentally Ill Behavior (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    CK is a psychiatrist who ironically acts in a very stereotypical mentally ill fashion, which is to say that he constantly accuses Obama of being mentally and always crowing that some little thing is proof or evidence.

    This is the endless stereotyped behavior of the "cluster B personality disorders," who can usually be found claiming that everyone is is a crazy evil schemer but them, or they get their hooks into one person (often a stranger or one of their own children) and start spewing accusations.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:33:13 PM PST

  •  I agree with him about free antiibiotics (2+ / 0-)

    I was surprised to see that Krauthammer is arguing in favor of providing free antibiotics for sick children:

    By what moral logic does the state provide one woman with co-pay-free contraceptives while denying the same subvention to another woman when she urgently needs antibiotics for her sick child?
    I've always wondered how conservatives could argue for the "rights of the unborn" but ignore the children once they've been born. I can't wait for the conservatives to rally behind Krauthammer's and his argument that we should supply urgently needed antibiotics to children with charging a co-pay.
  •  How ironic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nosleep4u, nocynicism, Terminus

    that Krauthammer would suggest Republicans should demonize those (mostly Democrats) who support abortion after 20 weeks as supporting infanticide.  Yet Republicans mindlessly march our young off to die in a war in Iraq based on LIES, gut the food stamp program that helps parents feed their children and deny the uninsured affordable healthcare. THAT's what I call INFATICIDE.  Bring it on GOP and let's see how quickly it gets turned on you.

  •  It's my uterus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So tired of them trying to get inside there.  Don't like abortions and wouldn't get one unless I HAD TO. I think the majority of women feel the same way. Let's start talking about getting the men who impregnate the women FIXED dammit. There would surely be less need for abortions - ya think? The song would surely change.  This might not make sense the way I'm trying to express it - but I think the gist is there.    

  •  So in other words... (4+ / 0-)

    Continue to do what they've been doing the last forty years. Tell you what, when the "Kill the Pill" movement finally dies, then you can talk about what the real motivations behind wanting to stop abortion are. And it ain't the children.

    Republicans want women back in the kitchen and out of the offices. It's that simple. This has nothing to do with children. I'll be the first to admit that I have mixed feelings about abortion but any party that has Phyllis Shlafly as a member has only one reason and one reason only for opposing abortion. Roll back feminism.

    •  I mostly agree with your whole response (0+ / 0-)

      except I have no problem with leaving the abortion question up to the woman, herself.  I think, if the woman is in a committed relationship that is good, then yes... it should and probably will be a mutual decision between the two consenting adults... for whatever their particular reasons are.

      Abortion is not an "excuse" to do something.  It's a reasoned response to a particular situation, be that medical, personal, or environmental.  And it should -always- be the woman who has the last word.  It is her body and her health.  Pregnancy is not a picnic in the best of circumstances.

      BUT I totally agree that the Rightwing nuts are NOT in this for "pro-life" reasons.  At worst, they're religious forced-birthers.  But I believe, as you, that the overall issue is power OVER women.  They don't believe in equality of any kind; and women, thru the millenia, have been controlled by men.  The old men these days just can't stand the fact they've lost (or never had) that same type of control.  This is what they really mean when they say we're emasculating men today.

      Further, with all the men out of work today, I've just been waiting for them to send us home -- in the name of making sure the "men of the family" have jobs (never mind whether or not they have a family).  There's historical precident for this in the U.S. (re: end of WWII), as well as globally.

      Isn't it funny, tho, that one only really sees this happen in these "modern times" in countries that have let the religious fundamental nuts take over?  And... even among the RFN, it's generally limited to monotheistic faiths!

      •  My only real conflict with abortion... (0+ / 0-)

        Is the whole issue of when life begins. I don't think that's an easy question to answer. It's squishy no matter how you approach it. But, I'm also a guy so perhaps I'm just no qualified to have an opinion on this either. What with not having to carry said child myself. Who knows, my perspective might change then.

        As to your point about women in the workplace and men forcing them out, I saw a fascinating interview recently that addresses that very subject and how to deal with some of these men.

        The author makes an interesting point towards the end of the interview about how women aren't going to just wake up one day and decide they no longer want to be part of the workforce. And these types of men are just going to have to accept that. It's an odd thing on the right where the whole concept of resentment at having something taken away from them might make people angry doesn't even cross their minds. We saw this after prop. H8 passed on California when the right wing were SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I TELL YOU! that gays refused to accept the outcome.  

  •  Get Gubbmint OUT OF OUR LIVES!!! Because FREEDOM! (1+ / 0-)

    ...and...erm...into our Lady Parts because...BENGHAZI? (just guessing here)...have I got that right, Dr. Asshole With A Risible Dye Job?

    Swell. You keep talking that talk and we'll keep munching popcorn as we watch the GOP sink into its well-deserved grave.

    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

    by Retroactive Genius on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 06:59:18 PM PST

  •  so, iow . . . r's should stick to the strategy (0+ / 0-)

    they know best: change-the-subject.

    the war on women is not about abortion. it's about whether the state can force a woman to have a child. that was the original argument in roe v wade. not abortion.

    the r's want to make it about life & death b/c life & death issues appeal to people not playing with a full deck -- a.k.a. their base.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

    by bluezen on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:15:32 PM PST

  •  Krauthammer is a cruel man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is interesting to note Krauthammer comparing abortion to infanticide.  He obviously doesn't give a damn for Iraqi children who are dead because of a war he championed, but I guess it could be argued that dead Iraqi children don't count as much as American fetuses.  

  •  i think this (0+ / 0-)

    commentator needs a psychiatrist, as a matter of fact i know he does.

    save anerica defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  Let's focus on war (0+ / 0-)

    which is the horror of late-term abortions of 18 and 19-year-olds in uniform, Doctor.

    "I'm super brain. That's how they made me." - Goldfrapp

    by Beg4Nothing on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:14:06 PM PST

  •  One Question: Who cares what he says, and why? (0+ / 0-)

    I've yet to hear anything particularly brilliant or insightful from him. The impression I get from him is of a person terribly bored with the world, and tired of having to put up with lesser intelligences.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:20:59 PM PST

  •  He'd Prefer to Kill the Woman? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How many "late term abortions" are done for elective reasons? Exactly none.

    What I'd like to hear is Krauthammer's conversation with a zygote. I suspect it would be a bit one-sided.

    A lot like his conversations with viewers.

  •  K reluctantly conceded that samantha smith, 12 yo (0+ / 0-)

    anti-reagan anti-nuke symbol for kids around the world in the early 80's, was probably not a commie dupe, at a time when that label would get you disappeared off the streets of central america by reagan backed death squads.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 02:23:10 AM PST

  •  Can someone explain (0+ / 0-)

    why it seems every doctor I've met is a raging Republican? In Congress, the media, and in my personal experience, I rarely come across a liberal doctor.

    The only explanation seems to be that they make very good living and don't want their taxes to go up. I realize that's an over simplification, but in a profession in which altruism should be a factor, it seems like most doctors, when not dealing with patients, are hard nosed, uncaring people.

    •  Most docs I know are liberal (0+ / 0-)

      I'd say that doctors in my very blue state where there is mostly a glut of MD's (ie E. MA) are at least as likely to be Dems as Reps as the average person. I don't always know an MD's politics, however, and there could be a self-selection bias in that if I don't like a doctor-even not knowing his politics-I wouldn't see him again. Maybe if I don't like a doc he's more likely to be a Rep as certain temperments of people are attracted to them. Such as less altruistic people. I don't socialize with MD's so only know them as a patient.

       Your high income theory makes sense, especially if you are in a purple or reddish area. The location already pushes people to the right, then you have the higher income.

      I observe most MDs in politics, as you say in Congress, are Reps. (I don't know any MD's in MA politics though). It takes a certain ego and arrogance to have an unrelated background/experience (ie medical background not political or government) especially and run for Congress. Maybe Republicans are more arrogant and more likely to think that their own opinions are the correct ones, case closed. Being a doctor seems to already encourage that trait, since for one thing that job is so esteemed in our culture. Maybe arrogant know it alls are more likely to run for Congress and doctors who are arrogant know it alls are more likely to be Republican!

  •  How horrible to contemplate he was a (0+ / 0-)

    psychiatrist, with very vulnerable people reliant him for his judgment of what was "wrong' with them. They usually diagnose people in one or a few sessions when they can't possible know them very well so they need a great deal of intuition and understanding of human's inner lives.  They need to keep their own judgments out of the way. He seems to be unable to do any of these things.

    I bet he was on of those very judgmental psychiatrists who labeled someone as a narcissist if the person was assertive or stood up to him for anything, or called someone borderline because they were hard for him to manage. He's like that. He believes his assessments are always right, he isn't nuanced, and he doesn't understand people, it seems to me.

    Glad he left the profession. Maybe how is is why!

  •  The Diary Author is Rightq (0+ / 0-)

    Krauthammer is seeking a distraction. Say "abortion" and my hackles come up, because I know the issue is really "slavery."

    If a woman doesn't control her own body she's a slave. Denying her that right when a sperm enters her body, both before and afterward, is an effort to impose slavery on half the population, by part of the other half.

    But that's not what the "War on Women" is really all about. 90% of it is not in the subtext of abortion. It's about equal pay, about the minimum wage, about health care, about a whole host of issues to which the Republicans are blind because they -- THEY -- keep focusing on enslaving women.

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 04:33:49 AM PST

  •  Doctor WHO???? (0+ / 0-)

    This guy is a doctor?? HUH?? He is just a talking head who goes on Fix so-called news to spread lie after lie about the NON-EXISTENT WAR ON WOMEN??? YEAH.... RIGHT!!!

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