A pregnant Texas woman said her unborn baby should count as a second passenger in her vehicle, citing Texas’ penal code in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, after receiving a ticket.
Brandy Bottone, 32, of Plano, Texas, was pulled over on June 29 after driving in an HOV lane, or high-occupancy vehicle land, according to NBC-DFW. Bottone was stopped by a Dallas County Sheriff Department who was looking for drivers violating the HOV lane rules.
The HOV lane requires drivers to have at least one passenger in their car while using the lane.
When the sheriff’s deputy told Bottone of the rule, she said she did, in fact, have a second occupant in her car — her unborn baby.
“I pointed to my stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person,'” Bottone told The Dallas Morning News, who first reported the story.
The officer responded that the rule applies to “two people outside of the body.”
Bottone, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, told the officers that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, her unborn child now was recognized as a living person. The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a June 24 decision.
‘And then I said, ‘Well [I’m] not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on, this counts as a baby,'” Bottone told NBC-DFW.
Bottone recalled to the Morning News that the officer told her he didn’t “want to deal with this” and insisted that the law for HOV lanes required there to be “two persons outside of the body.”
Although the penal code in Texas currently recognizes a fetus as a person, it appears there’s no language in the Texas Department of Transportation’s code that recognizes a fetus as a person or a passenger.
Representatives for Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Deputies told Bottone that if she fought the ticket, it would likely be dismissed. She now plans to fight the $215 ticket with the argument her in-utero baby should count as another occupant of her vehicle.
“This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life,” Bottone told the Morning News. “I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking.”