August 15, 2022

PASSIVE PASSENGER: HOV lane dispute over pregnancy shows consequences of SCOTUS ruling

PASSIVE PASSENGER: HOV lane dispute over pregnancy shows consequences of SCOTUS ruling

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Citing the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Texas’ abortion ban, a pregnant woman in Texas is claiming that her unborn child should count as a passenger in the HOV lane since the state is contending that life begins at conception.

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Brandy Bottone of Plano, Texas was pulled over by officers as she tried to exit the expressway after she was seen driving solo in the car pool lane. These HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles carrying two or more passengers, and, when a sheriff’s deputy asked if it was just Bottone in the car, she simply pointed to her 34-weeks-pregnant stomach, according to Dallas-Fort Worth’s NBC5.

The officer wasn’t buying her line of thinking, much to Bottone’s confusion. Using the recent Supreme Court ruling to back up her assertion, Bottone recounted the encounter to the local media affiliate:

“One officer kind of brushed me off when I mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v Wade. So I don’t know why you’re not seeing that.”

Bottone criticized the state of Texas for trying to “have it both ways,” saying “This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair?”

And she’s not wrong.

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Since the Supreme Court decision to unsettle what was agreed to be “settled” law, there have been questions about how a fetus should – or will – be treated in the eyes of the law. Should child support begin at conception? What about a fetus’ supposed personhood?

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Local appellate attorney Chad Ruback brought up the murky waters Texas and the rest of the country are in, telling an NBC reporter that “This is uncharted territory we’re in now.”

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The Texas mother has brought up a very good point that will surely come up again. The officers tasked with enforcement of HOV lane rules on the city’s highway 75 informed Bottone that the additional passenger needed to be “outside” her body. But Bottone disagrees. Saying:

“I really don’t think it’s right because one law is saying it one way but another law is saying it another way.”

Welcome to the Republican Party’s America, Brandy Bottone. Where saying one thing, but doing another is the standard GOP way of doing business.

The expectant mom was given a $275 ticket with a court date of July 20th – ironically exactly when she’s due to give birth. Maybe she should try to postpone the court date to after the baby is born to avoid another ticket and court fight.

Original reporting by Dave Lieber at the Dallas Morning News.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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