A pregnant woman has gone viral on social media after receiving a ticket for driving in the HOV lane. Brandy Bottone was pulled over after an officer noticed she was driving alone in the HOV lane meant for carpoolers. When questioned, Bottone replied that following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, her fetus now qualified as another person. Her story quickly went viral, with scores of people both praising and criticizing her actions.
“I was driving to pick up my son. I knew I couldn’t be a minute late, so I took the HOV [high-occupancy vehicle] lane. As I exited the HOV, there was a checkpoint at the end of the exit. I slammed on my brakes, and I was pulled over by police,” Bottone told the Dallas Morning News.
She continued the story:
“An officer peeked in and asked, ‘Is there anybody else in the car?’
“I said, ‘Well, yes.’
“He asked, ‘Where?’
“I pointed to my stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person.’”
“He said, ‘Oh, no. It’s got to be two people outside of the body.’”
According to the Associated Press, after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Texas’ trigger law banning abortion came into play. The ban, known as the “heartbeat bill,” aims to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, the earliest being six weeks of pregnancy— a time before most people even know they are pregnant. Additionally, under the Texas penal code, the term “‘Individual’ means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”
Bottone argued that if the state believes a fetus counts as a life, then a fetus should also be considered a passenger. But despite the state’s penal code recognizing a fetus as a person, the Texas Transportation Code apparently did not and Bottone was issued a $215 ticket for driving alone in the two-or-more occupant lane.
Bottone told The Washington Post she will be fighting the ticket.
However, advocates for abortion noted Bottone’s case could possibly move the state into “unchartered territory” following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, since transportation issues have not been addressed.
While some are applauding Bottone for sticking it to Texas by using their anti-abortion laws against them, others note that this can open doors to more restrictions and policies within agencies across the state.
Bottone was even applauded by Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison, who vowed on Saturday to introduce legislation to “clarify” the language in the transportation code.
“Unborn babies are persons (meaning they’re also passengers), and should be treated accordingly under Texas laws,” he wrote in a tweet. “Brandy, keep fighting that ticket!”
According to the Post, she’s due in court on July 20, which is only two weeks before her daughter’s due date of Aug. 3.
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