Med Students Walk Out of Own Induction Ceremony

U of Michigan students were protesting pro-life speaker Kristin Collier
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2022 12:28 PM CDT
Med Students Walk Out on Pro-Life Speaker
Some of the med students walk out.   (YouTube/WDIV)

Dozens of incoming medical students at the University of Michigan walked out of their induction ceremony last weekend in protest of a keynote speaker who opposes abortion. Dr. Kristin Collier, an assistant professor of medicine who directs the medical school's program on health, spirituality and religion, has expressed her views publicly, including in a May 4 tweet. "I can't not lament the violence directed at my prenatal sisters in the act of abortion, done in the name of autonomy," she wrote, adding "liberation that costs innocent lives is just oppression that is redistributed." More than 340 current and incoming medical students signed a petition opposing Collier as the keynote speaker, reports Michigan Daily.

"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,” the petition reads, per CNN. Collier's selection by the medical school's Gold Humanism Honor Society only "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 university responded that it "does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs." It added the school remains "committed to providing high quality, safe reproductive care for patients," including "abortion care."

As Collier took the podium to welcome incoming students at Sunday's ceremony, dozens of them—clearly visible in their white coats—stood up and filed out of the room, along with some audience members, in a moment captured in footage viewed more than 15 million times on Twitter, per USA Today. Though Collier did not mention abortion in her remarks, she did appear to refer to the hubbub surrounding her. "I want to acknowledge the deep wounds our community has suffered over the past several weeks," she said. "We have a great deal of work to do for healing to occur," but "for this time, we can focus on what matters most, coming together to support our newly accepted students and their families." (More abortion stories.)

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