Dozens of medical students left their induction ceremony at the University of Michigan on July 24 in protest against an anti-abortion speaker.
Before the ceremony, over 300 students of the university's medical school had signed a petition to have Dr. Kristin Collier, the keynote speaker, replaced, CNN reported.
"This is not simply a disagreement on personal opinion," the petition stated. "We are standing up in solidarity against groups who are trying to take away human rights and restrict medical care."
But Collier still turned up at the ceremony and spoke and students, wearing white coats, were seen walking out the venue. A video of their protest has collected over 16 million views on Twitter.
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
Collier has on past occasions described abortion as violence done in the name of autonomy.
"Liberation that costs innocent lives is just oppression that is redistributed," she had said in a tweet on May 4.
The University of Michigan had refused to act on its students' petition, saying that it "does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs", The Michigan Daily reported.
However, it had added that the induction ceremony will not be allowed to become a "forum to air personal political or religious beliefs".
"It (the university will focus on welcoming students into the profession of medicine.”
Michigan is among the US states where abortion is still legal.Many conservative states imposed bans on the procedure after the Supreme Court, on June 24, overturned the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which guaranteed women right to abortion.