ANN ARBOR – A video showing incoming University of Michigan medical students walking out as a doctor known for her anti-abortion views took the stage to deliver the keynote address at the school’s White Coat Ceremony has gone viral.
In the video shared by Twitter user @PEScorpiio, the students wearing white coats can be seen standing and leaving Hill Auditorium on Sunday as Dr. Kristin Collier began speaking.
As of Monday morning, the video has 8.6 million views and has been retweeted more than 450,000 times.
A graduate of U-M medical school herself, Collier is an assistant professor of medicine at the university and the director of the school’s Program on Health Spirituality & Religion.
She has openly shared her anti-abortion stance in social media posts, like this tweet from May 4, 2022.
holding on to a view of feminism where one fights for the rights of all women and girls, especially those who are most vulnerable. I can’t not lament the violence directed at my prenatal sisters in the act of abortion, done in the name of autonomy.— Kristin Collier (@KristinCollie20) May 4, 2022
According to the Michigan Daily, more than 340 incoming and current medical students petitioned to have Collier removed as the keynote speaker at the event.
“While we support the rights of freedom of speech and religion, an anti-choice speaker as a representative of the University of Michigan undermines the University’s position on abortion and supports the non-universal, theology-rooted platform to restrict abortion access, an essential part of medical care,” the petition read.
“This is not simply a disagreement on personal opinion; through our demand we are standing up in solidarity against groups who are trying to take away human rights and restrict medical care.”
In response to the Daily, Michigan Medicine spokeswoman Mary Masson said the university “does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs,” and said Collier was selected based on her medical qualifications by the Gold Humanism Honor Society.
For her part, Collier thanked her supporters ahead of the event on Twitter.
truly grateful for the support, emails, texts, prayers and letters I’ve received from all over the world regarding the event that will happen today. i feel so bolstered by it. and for my team that have carried me daily thru this —I love you— Kristin Collier (@KristinCollie20) July 24, 2022
The White Coat Ceremony is the annual induction of the new medical school class.