A pregnant Texas woman drove down the highway on June 29 in the high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) and when police pulled her over, she said her fetus should count as a second person.
Brandy Bottone from Plano, Texas, claimed that because of the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade that her unborn child should count as a second person. In order for drivers to occupy the HOV lane, they must have at least one other person in the car.
As she tells the story, she was on the way to pick up her son. To avoid being late, she took the HOV lane, which is a common traffic violation.
Police pulled Bottone over because she did not have another person in the vehicle, at least not one they could see. Bottone was 34 weeks pregnant at the time of the incident, where she got a $275 ticket.
Botton first recounted her story to the Dallas Morning News. When the officer asked her if she was the only occupant of the vehicle, Bottone responded “no, there’s two of us.”
According to Botton, the officer asked “well, where’s the other person?” to which she responded “right here” while pointing to her stomach.
Officers at the scene insisted that pregnancy does not count as a second person. The law in Texas is complicated because under the penal code a fetus counts as a person. However, Texas’ transportation code does not consider a fetus a person.
Still, Bottone insisted that with the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the current Texas law “this counts as a baby.”
Bottone says she plans to fight the ticket in court on July 20, the same day as her due date.
“This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is life. I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking,” she added.
A Texas appellate lawyer, Chad Ruback, spoke to a local NBC station and said depending on the judge who takes the case, there may be a different outcome. He called the case “uncharted territory.”
“There is no Texas statute that says what to do in this situation. The Texas Transportation Code has not been amended recently to address this particular situation,” he added.
Bottone found a clever way to challenge abortion laws in a post-Roe U.S. landscape, and she is not the only one. Some religious groups, including certain Jewish and Muslim groups, say that the ruling infringes upon their religious freedoms.