News Violence

Maryland Father Newest Target for Anti-Choice Terrorism

Kari Ann Rinker

Anti-choicers are targetting a Maryland father and medical office landlord by "protesting" at his daughter's school.

Cheryl Sullenger appeared before the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) last week to speak out in favor of the abortion regulations known as TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers). Fifteen minutes into her commentary, the hearing officer finally saw fit to end her tirade against abortion doctors and physically removed her from the podium.

The litany of alleged abuses and manufactured transgressions of the “abortion industry” in Kansas, for which Ms. Sullenger declared moral outrage, was not unexpected. Cheryl is the Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue.  As I watched her being removed from the podium, I wondered how many people listening to her were aware of her background?  Ms. Sullenger works for an organization that professionally harasses physicians, clinic employees and their patients.  Beyond this, Ms. Sullenger has the ultimate “pro-life” credentials of being a federally convicted terrorist.  She has served jail time for conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic in California.

From Tara Murtha at the Philadelphia Weekly:

In 1987 Sullenger pled guilty to conspiring to blow up San Diego’s Alvarado Medical Center with a gasoline bomb. Sullenger served two years in federal prison. Her name and phone number was found on Scott Roeder’s dashboard after Tiller’s murder.  

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James McElroy, a civil-rights attorney who won the judgment against Jeff White, says both Sullenger and (Troy) Newman had restraining orders filed against them. “Suffice it to say they were in legal trouble most of the time they were in San Diego. They had very little respect for the law,” says McElroy. “Not laws protecting private property or against harassing people or disturbing the peace … They are not the kind of people you want rolling into town.”

And more from the January 04, 1988 LA Times:

Cheryl Sullenger, 32, and her husband, Randall, 35, until recently were resident apartment managers in Spring Valley. Many of the overt acts listed in the federal indictment revolve around Cheryl Sullenger, a longtime activist in the Pro-Life movement. The informant told police that Randall Sullenger, a warehouse worker, conducted moonlight surveillance of possible bombing targets.  Cheryl Sullenger gave Svelmoe a woman’s wig to wear as a disguise during the bombing attempt. The Sullengers also collected from Svelmoe the byproducts of the pipe bomb and agreed to destroy them.

From the May 06, 1988  LA Times: 

Gillam staggered the sentences so that at least one of the Sullengers could stay home with their two daughters, ages 6 and 4. Cheryl Sullenger will begin her term after her husband has completed his sentence.

This “pro-life” maven was busy doing nighttime surveillance and making bombs with her husband, willfully putting her own children in a situation where they would be without both their mother and father, while they did jail time for their crimes Despite all of this, here she was in front of a crowded room at a high profile state proceeding professing knowledge about what makes an abortion clinic safe, when her knowledge of such clinics consists primarily of conspiracy to bomb one. 

Local media has repeatedly sought her for comment and her words have been printed.  She has often been treated as a source of reputable authority for the anti-choice movement.  The media would be served just as well to seek out Scott Roeder, convicted murderer of Dr. George Tiller, for his take on matters of abortion in Kansas.  Her words are sensational and inflammatory, but her personal actions are much worse, having proven violent in the past.

Cheryl isn’t just one bad apple, just as her friend, Scott Roeder, is no lone wolf.  Their actions are par for the course within these groups who advocate against abortion rights.  Theirs is a family that not only prays together, they harass and conspire together.   They pass along information and techniques that have proven successful through the years.    

Just months after Dr. Tiller’s assassination, Operation Rescue called for a siege on Dr. Carhart’s clinic in Nebraska.  They have since followed this Doctor to his new practice in Germantown, Maryland.  They have been at the forefront of a coalition dedicated to driving Dr. Carhart out of town, by any means possible. Another coalition partner called Defend Life has taken up Operation Rescue’s torch while they have been busy here in Kansas.  Defend Life has moved their focus to the owner of the building where Dr. Carhart practices medicine.  This is a play straight from Wichita, where the landlord of Dr. Mila Means (at the urging of Operation Rescue) took her to court to prevent her from providing abortions within her office space.  As she searched for other locations to rent, a prospective landlord was then harassed at her home with phone calls and the empty building itself was picketed. 

In typical anti-choice terrorist fashion, Defend Life has included Dr. Carhart’s landlord’s name, photograph, email, home address and phone number in a mass email to their followers.  They have even provided the names of his two middle school aged children.  They have been in front of his school, greeting the students with a sign with his picture and phone number on it for several days.  This is some text from the email that was sent…

“_____________ is the building owner and landlord for Germantown Reproductive Health Services. This is where Abortionist LeRoy Carhart conducts his reign of terror killing fully viable 25 – 35 week old preborn babies. 

___________ and LeRoy Carhart have turned Maryland into the late term child killing capital of the world, and you can help bring an end to the needless slaughter of these innocent babies.  Although ________ and his wife _______ have been blessed with two incredible children, _________ and ___________, he was not raised in an environment that taught him about the sanctity of human life.”

I spoke with the Maryland landlord who is being harassed.  His main concern was for his children.   This “pro-life posse,” unabashedly obsessed with the unborn, put the lives of school-aged children at risk through the targeting of this father.  It is unabashedly dangerous and it is the preferred organizational model of the anti-choice movement.

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