Pop Culture

Blaming Robin Williams’ Depression On Past Abortion Is Disrespectful And None Of Your Business

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Robin WilliamsIt has been a few days, and I am still saddened by Robin Williams’ passing. At a personal level, his suicide hit home for me because I also grew up with a father who I believe struggled with mental illness. In the aftermath in the news and on social media, I feel like I have learned a lot about depression through his passing—from the heartfelt insight of others who have been close to suicide themselves. But I would never dare speculate about the details of Robin’s death or his personal reasons for doing so. It is not my place, and it is disrespectful to his wonderful memory.

Sadly, not every media source, website, or Twitter user feels the same way. There have been plenty of trolls disrespecting Robin’s name, as well as a ridiculous pro-life site that has the audacity to imply that an abortion in the actor’s past contributed to his depression.

Life News ran a story titled “Robin Williams: Abortion of His Unborn Child May Have Added to Struggle With Depression.” The story hypothesizes that the abortion Robin Williams and his girlfriend had in the 70s contributed to his mental state. According to Williams’ biography, the actor and his girlfriend chose abortion because they were too young and the time was not right.

Some of the most upsetting excerpts from this post were covered by Talking Points Memo:

“Many are aware that Williams struggled for years with serious addiction issues. However a lesser known fact is that one of those demons was an abortion that took place in the 1970’s,” Life News’ Kevin Burke wrote.

“Is there a relationship between Robin William’s descent into drug addiction and depression that began in the 1970’s and his past abortion?” he wrote.

The writer analyzed Williams’ battle with addiction and discussion of depression, looking for signs that it was in some way linked to the abortion.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. This is not okay, at all. I’m sure Robin’s family and friends would agree that the man’s memory should be preserved and ultimately left alone. Media reports providing the gruesome details of his last moments have already crossed the line. To take a nugget of information like this and use it to promote an agenda is just sick.

Why not take it a step further? Pardon my ridiculous examples, but why not claim that Robin’s depression was related to the fact that he ate processed foods? Or was or wasn’t vaccinated? Or was or wasn’t circumcised? Life News has officially taken it too far. Leave Robin Williams’ beloved legacy alone.

(Image: DFree/Shutterstock)

71 Comments

  1. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    August 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Life News also recently ran a story written by someone who survived both a miscarriage and an abortion.

    This is just more proof that Life News has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Dumbasses.

    • Spongeworthy

      August 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

      I remember seeing a headline about that. Seems legit.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Apparently I decided I needed MORE reasons to go isolate myself in a cave up in the mountains today, so I decided to check Life News out, and I found this headline: “Colorado Pro-Life Group Endorses Pro-Life Cory Gardner Over Pro-Abortion Mark Udall.”

      NO SHIT YA THINK A ONE-ISSUE GROUP WOULD SUPPORT ITS ONE-ISSUE CANDIDATE?!?

      ETA: couldn’t process the remaining twattery. Had to go tend to the gaping wound in my forehead where it met my glass coffee table.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      I have certain google alerts that wind up with a ton of stories from them. It’s my least favorite part of the day.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      I’d have to disable the internet in my home in favor of only using it at the local cheapie dive bar.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      I’m a masochist. I just break the Jack out of the pantry to numb the pain.

  2. Rowan

    August 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Or maybe it’s caused by walking under a ladder when he was 12. Or by aliens. Or by a voodoo curse.

    NO, YOU FUCKWITS, IT IS A FUCKING ILLNESS.

  3. Jennie Blair

    August 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Wtf?

  4. Andrea

    August 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Wait what? Robin Williams had an abortion? How can a man have an abortion?

    • Fondue

      August 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Are you trying to be funny or are your reading comprehension skills just that sub-par?

    • Andrea

      August 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

      No I am sorry..Maybe they are. I don’t understand what abortion they are referring to.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:52 am

      I would have played that shit off. I applaud your honesty, because I totally thought you were joking. 😉

    • Andrea

      August 14, 2014 at 10:57 am

      Yeah, mea idiot. LOL

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

      We all have those moments where it takes more than one read to figure it out. 🙂

    • JenH1986

      August 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

      I thought she was being snarky and I was all “Damn I wish I had thought of that!”

    • Andrea

      August 14, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Evidently I am funnier when I am sleepy LOL.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

      It was a stroke of sleepy-genius! 😉

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Me too!

    • rockmonster

      August 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Why would that be affecting him now?

    • Andrea

      August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

      I have no idea. I was just clarifying that now I understand what those wackos are trying to say. When I first read it this morning, I couldn’t figure out why they would think Robin Williams had an abortion.

    • Guest

      August 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Are you trying to be funny or are you just mean for no reason?

  5. Guest Post

    August 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Having grown up Catholic and having attended a Catholic school, I was always taught that taking your own life was a cardinal sin and those who did it would burn in hell for eternity. I believed it for a long time. Then I grew up and my cousin, who was also one of my closest friends, began to suffer greatly in his later teens and early 20’s due to mental health, physical health and addiction issues. He took his own life at the age of just 23. As close as we were, I never even saw it coming. Almost 20 years have passed now and I still don’t fully understand what drove him to take his own life, but I know that it was not one single thing that did it. No one will ever know what make him take his own life, nor should anyone presume to know… He was looking for peace and found it the only way he knew how.

    • Liz

      August 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Your story is EXACTLY like my father’s, only his cousin killed himself about 40 years ago.

    • Guest Post

      August 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      I’m so very sorry. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  6. Samantha Lobdell

    August 14, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I lurk on another message board where this came up and from what the people posting there dug up, there are an awful lot of “Christians” crowing about Robin Williams burning in hell, claiming he must have killed himself because he didn’t “turn to God”, even one guy being offended by the fact that people are mourning him. I would love to know what has to be wrong with someone’s brain to spout off nonsense like this not twenty-four hours after it hits the news.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

      That doesn’t surprise me. According to Matt Walsh, you can overcome depression with just joy and love. No word on when the clinical trials start yet.

    • Guinevere

      August 14, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I could see how joy and love could be useful tools. Just, do not exceed the recommended dosage, and, for the love of God, do not skip a dose!

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Too much joy will kill you.

    • K.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:16 am

      I’m paraphrasing Allie from “Hyperbole and a Half” with a vague Jesus reference to boot, but joy and love will no more cure a depressed person than it will resurrect dead fishes.

      If you’re truly a Christian, you don’t taunt people over someone else supposed suffering in Hell. That makes you an asshole. Man, I hate these people.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

      People are dumb. Except for M’ish commenters. 😉

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

      But I do have to thank him for that, because it gave me something to blog about on a day when I wasn’t feeling up to blogging.

    • samantha

      August 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

      That comic opened my eyes to my own struggle with depression, and helped my husband understand what I, and his own mother, cope with. He still doesn’t 100% understand, but it’s difficult to explain something like depression to someone who doesn’t have it.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      I started giggling uncontrollably at the line about turning the dead fish into finger puppets, and not because I’m a raging jackass–I’ve lived with Type I diabetes for all but two years of my life, and while physical conditions are generally not as misunderstood as mental ones, some of the complete and utter stupidity I’ve heard as a possible “treatment” (as suggested by someone whose experience with the condition includes a second-cousin twice-removed who has Type *2* diabetes) absolutely blows my mind. So I totally believe her that the suggestions she and other depressed individuals have received is off the charts.

    • K.

      August 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      I LOVE that frame, where she’s like “Why doesn’t anyone understand these fish are DEAD?!”

      (esp. b/c that’s kind of what it’s like: “Maybe you wouldn’t be so dead if you pray/got a hobby/went to the Bahamas” etc.)

    • 2Well

      August 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I tried reading a book titled How to Fight For Joy. I guess it might have been all well and good if the depression in question were related to trauma (though that’s doubtful) but it absolutely ignored clinical, long-term unexplainable depression.

      I’ve tried praying for it to go away.

      I have wondered why I am not a good enough Christian to just be able to have that joy.

      That’s my real reason for not going to church.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      I am nearly moved by tears to this. I’m sending you all the hugs. All of them.

      You are more than good enough. Depression is an illness. Would anyone wonder if a person with diabetes or heart disease or the flu wasn’t a good enough Christian? No one would, and no one–least of all someone suffering through it–should have to ask the same question of depression.

    • 2Well

      August 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      I know that with my logic.

      I’m hoping to find a more natural doctor. The medicines I’ve tried make my thinking slow, and all of my existing self worth is tied to my intelligence.

      My own family calls me freaky.

      I’m worried about not being admitted to the bar even though I’ve handled law school well so far. Luckily we get access to counseling sessions via BarCares. I made sure to slip the card they gave us into my wallet, because even if I felt excitement at my new opportunities, I knew myself.

      And it’s always there even just a little bit, even when I feel good. It’s like a cold wet scratchy blanket; good times means it’s just attached to my body so I can move my arms and legs and function, but it’s always there waiting to wrap itself around me so I can’t move or breathe.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      I feel that last paragraph. It truly is always there, no matter what.

    • 2Well

      August 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      So thank you. I needed that reminder today.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      Actually, I know firsthand with the diabetes question…you’d be amazed. And not in a good way.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Oh jeez. Sometimes I forget that I was affiliated with only moderately crazy churches, not true blue certifiable ones.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      As with most advice I have received, I have to wonder if the advice-giver has any actual experience with whatever it is they’re trying to expound on. I’m sorry for the fuckery you’ve doubtlessly encountered at your church and from blithering bystanders alike.

  7. Michael Weldon

    August 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Anything that happened in the 70’s does not seem very likely to cause a suicide in 2014. If he regretted an abortion so much he would have done something long before now.

  8. JenH1986

    August 14, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Beth between you and Maria I’m likely to stroke out today…Do we need a course on how mental illness/depression work? I think yes. BRB going to type something up so we can finally put this bullshit to rest.

    • Bethany Ramos

      August 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Yes, you need to write one for us! These people are terrible.

    • JenH1986

      August 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

      My eye is twitching from so much stupid.

    • K.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

      PLEASE write one.

      I didn’t have PPD, but I do have depression. It’s a really hard disease for people to understand if they don’t have one.

    • JenH1986

      August 14, 2014 at 10:20 am

      No joke I think I’m going to write a little something and submit it to Maria (I think she’s the lady in charge now). I’m not a great writer but this is JUST NOT HOW THIS WORKS. and it’s so frustrating!!!!!

    • K.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

      To me, Robin Williams is kind of an example of how chronic depression is as rational as the flu–ie, people want to cite precipitating events or life circumstances as the source of depression, and in some cases, that might be true, as in PTSD, PPD, or the death of a loved one. Having said that, knowing the cause doesn’t really help the present and for the vast majority of people who suffer from depression, there really isn’t a “reason” aside from your brain chemistry. And even knowing the “reason” doesn’t really change the reality and thus, the treatment necessarily of depression for that person–in the same way that knowing genetics cause Huntington’s doesn’t really matter to the person suffering from it.

      Robin Williams lived the rarest of lives–he was married with children he loved dearly, and despite being divorced, he had loved and been loved. He was successful in a way that so few people are, succeeding in a field it’s next to impossible to succeed in, and performing work that’s creative and by all accounts, fulfilling. And he was also wealthy. And broadly admired.

      This is not the profile of someone who wants to kill himself. Or live decades with drug and alcohol addiction. Because depression is a disease and it’s not rational. People need to start thinking of it that way.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:46 am

      In addition, he was a force for good–his aid to humanitarian causes and support of the military were awe-inspiring. So it’s not like he was cloistered away somewhere, out of touch with the world. He was out there doing meaningful things and enriching lives, and still succumbed to this. Depression is like the flu–that is such an apt analogy.

    • Guinevere

      August 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

      is she the HBIC now? 😉 I’d love to read your piece!

    • JenH1986

      August 14, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I think for right now she is! Ok. I’m going to be brave and type something up and pray to the writing Gods.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      August 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      If so, I’ve got a few ideas for pieces from a childfree perspective that I’m sure she’s gonna LOOOOOOOVE. 😉

    • Rowan

      August 14, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    • K.

      August 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      That’s seriously awesome! Will definitely start a referral.

      You are a wonderful writer 🙂

      (My explanation to people about exercise/eating/sleeping etc. is yes–those do help depression, but I still need to take an AD. The AD is what gets me to a place that I can exercise, eat right, go to sleep…Most of the time.)

    • rockmonster

      August 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

      DOOOO EET

  9. Frannie

    August 14, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I can’t even anymore.

  10. Guinevere

    August 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

    At least he doesn’t have to deal with this kind of B.S. & speculation anymore (I don’t mean by Bethany, but by the original source). His survivors do, but they aren’t the type to read Life News. May their lives regain peace.

  11. Em

    August 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

    First of all, unless Robin had a uterus that was gestating, Robin “chose” nothing. His opinion may have been given weight by the gestating WOMAN.

  12. K.

    August 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Great. So now women must incubate babies to ensure men don’t get depressed.

  13. rockmonster

    August 14, 2014 at 10:37 am

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rxuNk82gRMM/UO4Wi9VZtrI/AAAAAAAAAIc/76TUQtx31vk/s1600/this%20displeases%20me.gif

    Yes, be insensitive bastards for the Lord. He’s proud that that’s what you got from his teachings, “Be insensitive bastards.”.

  14. NotTakenNotAvailable

    August 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I hate everyone and everything.

    (Except fellow commenters. Y’all are cool.)

  15. Desert_RoseAZ

    August 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I am so fucking sick of all these assholes using Robin Williams’ personal hell as a platform to further their own bullshit agendas! Never mind FACTS-god forbid anyone use logic or talk about scientifically proven FACTS about depression when it’s so much more fulfilling to crow about how abortion or religion or political beliefs (don’t even get me started on Rush Limbaugh’s disgusting slant!) played a role in his tragic death. God forbid anyone use this tragedy as evidence to the piss-poor state of our understanding, support and treatment of mental illness (cue anuresym..)
    I was thinking this morning that Robin Williams had the means financially and connections to access some of the best medical and psychiatric care anywhere in the world, was cognizant of his problems and getting treatment and even that wasn’t enough to help him through his depression. That to me is a very sobering and telling point about our desperate need for better mental health studies.

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      August 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

      To avoid any longterm ill-effects from this much rational thinking, I recommend the following steps:

      1. Step away from any and all sources of rational and logical input. Put down the computer and turn off the TV. If you must have one or the other, you may navigate to the Fox News web portal or television channel.

      2. Breathe very deeply.

      3. Get thee to the nearest liquor store, unless you are a recovering alcoholic, in which case I recommend hot chocolate….

      But in all seriousness, I second your post wholeheartedly. Can’t let things like facts and science get in the way of personal bias though, now can we?

  16. Elyne

    August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

    A-holes will always find a way spewing out their bull. And abusing other people with it.

  17. Amber Starr

    August 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    God, people can be so gross. At the risk of sounding HELLA dramatic, I am heartbroken by his passing. The fact that someone who spent his life making the rest of us smile left this earth feeling so hopeless, so alone, and so fucking sad just hurts me beyond words. I hate that the media is giving very private details of his death. We don’t need to know anymore than the fact that his life is ended. We aren’t owed any more of an explanation. I can’t even imagine what his family is going through and how devastated they must be… And instead of offering them the same love that Robin showed us (by making us all smile through his work), some people are taking the opportunity to be absolutely cruel.

    Sometimes I hate the internet because it gives everyone a voice and some idiots just shouldn’t be given a platform to spew their garbage.

    Rest in peace, Robin. Thanks for the laughs.

  18. JessBakesCakes

    August 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    The loss of Robin Williams is tragic. He was a hugely talented man. I hope that his death, as sad as it is, brings awareness to mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are real, and they don’t discriminate.

  19. Awesomus

    August 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Oh for fucks sake do these people ever quit? Jesus. I can’t even with this.

  20. CrazyFor Kate

    August 14, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Is the abortion thing even confirmed? Let alone how Williams felt about it? There are so many things wrong with this that I can’t even begin.

  21. Elizabeth Wakefield

    August 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

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