Page 3 of 5
Sullenger is a convicted felon. In 1988, she conspired to blow up an abortion clinic in San Diego. The plot, which included Sullenger's husband, Randall, and six other members of the fundamentalist Bible Missionary Fellowship, failed when wind blew out the fuse attached to a gasoline bomb. The Los Angeles Times reported that Cheryl Sullenger had obtained gunpowder and other material for the bomb.
At the time, Sullenger was 32 years old and had two children, ages 6 and 4. At her sentencing, she told the judge that she knew what she had done was wrong, but her religious beliefs "put a lot of emotional pressure on us to do this." She went on: "I believe it says in the Bible that abortion is murder, and when you see that, you are compelled to do something about that."
She was sentenced to three years in federal prison and has since claimed that she has renounced violence. On the day Tiller was shot, police found Sullenger's name and phone number on a piece of paper inside Roeder's car. She told The Kansas City Star at the time that she was in contact with Roeder prior to the murder. It was she who gave Roeder the dates of Tiller's court appearances.
Neuhaus has been a frequent target for derision on Operation Rescue's website. In October, Neuhaus sent a cease-and-desist letter to Newman and Sullenger, threatening to sue them in civil court and file a criminal complaint against them if they continued to publish "untrue and defamatory" stories and statements. She cites accusations on the site that she's "unfit to practice medicine" and "a danger to the public." She also writes that Operation Rescue claims that she "sedated and forcefully performed an abortion on a patient, in spite of [the patient's] later testimony under oath that she had not withdrawn consent, and had in fact, filed the complaint in hope of financial gain."
"They're obviously going around saying things that are inflammatory and untrue, and they've gotten away with it for years," Neuhaus says. "And they've kept the fire burning and gotten people like Bill O'Reilly to keep propagating it, and it's gotten people like Scott Roeder to kill people ... . They're operating on the border of what's legal, and they get away with it, and nobody cares."
O'Reilly mentioned Neuhaus on his Fox News talk show in September. The pundit had frequently referred to Tiller as "Tiller the baby killer" prior to the doctor's murder. On this occasion, he said he believed that the state would revoke Neuhaus' medical license.
"This is what I said all along about Tiller's practice," O'Reilly said. "If you walked in there with the $5,000 needed to abort the late-term baby, he was going to find a way to do the abortion."
Neuhaus says O'Reilly invited her on his show. She says she accepted but hasn't been contacted yet for scheduling.
"I want to see that fucker eye to eye," Neuhaus says. "I'm going to ask him how he got my records. That's all I'm going to say: How did you get my records, motherfucker?"
On a chilly November Friday, the last day of hearings gets under way in the basement of a Topeka office building. At the door to the hearing room, a bored-looking cop sips from a can of Monster Energy, and a who's who of anti-abortion activists takes up a back corner. Operation Rescue's Newman and Sullenger are here, tweeting the proceedings. Kansans for Life's Kathy Ostrowski, obviously sick with cold or flu, types on her laptop.