Incoming medical students at the University of Michigan walked out of their White Coat Ceremony this weekend when a doctor known for her pro-life views took the stage to deliver the keynote address.
Dr. Kristin Collier is a pro-life assistant professor of medicine at University of Michigan and director of the University of Michigan Medical School Program on Health Spirituality and Religion. Students and activists previously pressured the administration to cancel her remarks.
A video posted to Twitter shows many students, donning their white coats, getting out of their seats and leaving the amphitheater when Collier took the stage. The video has accumulated over 12 million views since Sunday.
Incoming medical students walk out at University of Michigan’s white coat ceremony as the keynote speaker is openly anti-abortion pic.twitter.com/Is7KmVV811— Scorpiio (@PEScorpiio) July 24, 2022
The White Coat Ceremony is an event held at many schools where students mark their transition into the field of medicine.
Beforehand, Collier tweeted that she felt “bolstered” by the support she was shown ahead of the ceremony that day.
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 students who signed the petition pressuring the school to choose another keynote speaker cited instances where Collier expressed her pro-life beliefs on Twitter and in interviews, according to NBC. In a tweet in May, Collier wrote that she is “holding onto a view of feminism where one fights for all women and girls,” including those who are not yet born. This came right after a draft opinion from the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization was leaked, showing the justices ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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
In her remarks, Collier spoke to the students about hard work and the limits to the vocation of medicine. She shared a story about how her chief resident, named Jake, passed away when she was a third-year resident. She explained how this experience, and other experiences she’s had in her profession, have shaped her view on humanity.
“This profession has a tendency to do one of two things. The suffering can either harden you and make you into a burned out machine or you can allow the vocation to soften you, to cultivate compassion, love, justice and mercy,” Collier said. “Let medicine do the latter of the two.”
Last week, UMichigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke out in support of the pro-life movement at a fundraiser hosted by Plymouth Right to Life.
“In God’s plan, each unborn human truly has a future filled with potential, talent, dreams and love,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Catholic. “I have living proof in my family, my children, and the many thousands that I’ve coached that the unborn are amazing gifts from God to make this world a better place. To me, the right choice is to have the courage to let the unborn be born.”