ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine has responded to the protest staged by incoming medical students during University of Michigan’s annual White Coat Ceremony on Sunday.
The keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Kristin Collier, who has shared her anti-abortion views on social media.
“Dr. Collier never planned to address a divisive topic as part of her remarks,” reads a statement issued by Michigan Medicine on Tuesday. “However, the University of Michigan does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs.”
The video shared by Twitter user @PEScorpiio that shows students in white coats quietly stand and leave Hill Auditorium as Collier took the stage has been viewed more than 16 million times and has been featured in numerous national publications.
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
Prior to the event, more than 340 incoming and current medical students petitioned to have Collier removed as the keynote speaker.
See the full statement issued by Michigan Medicine on July 26:
Kristin Collier, M.D., was chosen as the keynote speaker for the 2022 White Coat Ceremony based on nominations and voting by members of the U-M Medical School Gold Humanism Honor Society, which is composed of medical students, house officers and faculty.
The White Coat Ceremony is not a platform for discussion of controversial issues. Its focus will always be on welcoming students into the profession of medicine. Dr. Collier never planned to address a divisive topic as part of her remarks. However, the University of Michigan does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs.
The University of Michigan and Michigan Medicine remain committed to providing high quality, safe reproductive care for patients, across all their reproductive health needs. This includes abortion care, which remains legal in Michigan, even following the recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion. While the state of Michigan has a 1931 abortion ban on the books, a recent Michigan Court of Claims order has temporarily blocked enforcement of that ban. Michigan Medicine will continue to offer abortion care for patients.
Read: University of Michigan establishes task force for abortion access
The incident comes as Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh has also been making headlines for his anti-abortion views.
Harbaugh recently shared his pro-life stance at a “right to life” dinner in Plymouth, Michigan. In a separate interview with ESPN, Harbaugh also shared that he has told his players and family members that if they were to have an unplanned pregnancy and couldn’t care for the child, then he would help raise the baby.
“I’ve told [them] the same thing I tell my kids, boys, the girls, same thing I tell our players, our staff members,” Harbaugh said. “I encourage them if they have a pregnancy that wasn’t planned, to go through with it, go through with it. Let that unborn child be born, and if at that time, you don’t feel like you can care for it, you don’t have the means or the wherewithal, then Sarah and I will take that baby.”
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