A Texas woman is attempting to argue that she should be allowed to drive in the HOV lane while pregnant because Texas abortion law views unborn babies as humans who should therefore count as passengers.
Brandy Bottone is pregnant with her fourth child and in her third trimester. Bottone was pulled over in June for driving in a high occupancy vehicle lane that requires two or more people to be in the car.
Bottone indicated to the officer that there were two people present in the vehicle and drew the officer’s attention to her belly. She informed the officer that based on her understanding of Texas abortion law, a fetus of any age is considered a human life.
“The law says two or more persons; and I counted the baby as a person,” said Bottone. “So I was like, that makes sense to me.” Bottone has declined to comment on her personal beliefs about abortion, but believes state law makes her unborn child a legal individual.
According to the Texas penal code, a fetus at any gestational age is considered a person. “Not trying to make a political stance here, but you understand that this is a baby. It’s 34 weeks along, and for sure, she’s kicking and it’s real life,” she told the officer.
The topic of when a human life begins has been a foundational piece of the abortion debate for many years, and in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade, the Texas HOV lane case highlights one of the many ways abortion laws might filter into other policy areas.
Bottone was issued a $275 fine for using the HOV lane without a passenger present. She is fighting the ticket.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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