Pregnant woman claimed unborn baby counts as second passenger to use HOV lane

Source: Hot Air

A 32-year-old pregnant woman in Plano, Texas (Dallas) claimed she was entitled to travel in the high occupancy vehicle lane (HOV) because her unborn baby is recognized as a living person. That happened in June. It happened again last week.

Brandy Bottone is in the midst of her own post-Roe v Wade debate with the Texas Transportation Department. In June she was caught in a traffic stop by the the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department to check on HOV lane violations. The HOV lane use is limited to drivers who have at least one other passenger in their car. A sheriff’s deputy told her about the rule. When he did so, she pointed to her stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person.’ She claimed her unborn baby was the second passenger in the car, thus she was eligible to use the HOV lane.

The officer’s response was to tell her that the rule means “two people outside of the body.” She countered the officer by saying that since Roe v Wade was overturned in the Supreme Court, her unborn child is recognized as a living person.

‘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-Dallas-Fort Worth.

Bottone told 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.”

The Texas penal code does recognize a fetus as a person but there is no such recognition in the state Transportation Department’s code. Deputies told her that if she fought the ticket, it would likely be dismissed. The ticket was for $215 as she argued that her in-utero baby should count as another passenger in the car. At the time she said, “This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life. I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking.”

She must have made a good enough case because her first charge was dismissed.

Brandy was pulled over again on Tuesday and issued a second ticket for driving in the HOV lane without another occupant in her car. The deputy recognized her.

She told the Dallas Morning News on Sunday that the second HOV pullover happened on U.S. Highway 75 South near Midpark Road and the deputy knew exactly who she was.

“You again?” Bottone quoted the deputy as saying.

“So, when are you going to have this baby?” the deputy allegedly asked.

“Tomorrow,” Bottone said she answered.

“Oh, good luck,” she quoted the deputy as saying before issuing her the ticket.

The second ticket is pending.

Brandy has now given birth to her daughter. The next time she drives, she will have another person outside her body to avoid a third ticket. I have to be honest and say that I admire her moxy. She’s right when she says that court rulings can present unintended consequences. In this case, her argument makes as much sense as when the Unborn Victims of Violence Act was passed in 2004. It “recognizes an embryo or fetus in utero as a legal victim, if they are injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence.” The unborn child is recognized as a living person in that law. We’ll see if Brandy gets her second ticket dismissed.