A pregnant Texas woman has recently gained attention after she counted her unborn child as a passenger when police pulled her over in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
On June 29, 32-year-old Brandy Bottone of Plano was stopped by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, who were watching for motorists violating the HOV lane rules.
The HOV lane is for vehicles with two or more occupants or motorcycles, according to the regulations on the Texas Department of Transportation website.
When an officer inquired about additional passengers, Bottone pointed to her protruding belly. She argued that a fetus is a live human being under the new abortion law in Texas.
Words like “hero,” “smart,” and “brilliant” have been used to describe Bottone’s argument, and others have pointed out loopholes that have opened up as a result of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Her narrative has spurred a debate on both sides.
“I pointed to my stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person,” Battone stated to The Dallas Morning News.
Still, one of the officers who pulled Bottone over insisted, “It’s got to be two people outside of the body,” Bottone recounted.
She received a $275 ticket but intends to challenge it. Bottone has hired a lawyer for her scheduled court date on July 20. A second officer present when she was pulled over told her if she fought the ticket, it would likely get dismissed, she said.
“While the penal code in Texas recognizes an unborn child as a person in our state, the Texas Transportation Code does not specify the same,” said Amy O’Donnell, the spokeswoman for Texas Alliance for Life. “And a child residing in a mother’s womb is not taking up an extra seat. And with only one occupant taking up a seat, the car did not meet the criteria needed to drive in that lane.”
Bottone maintains that she does not think the state should be able to exercise both rights.