A Pregnant Texas Woman Is Fighting An HOV Lane Ticket By Saying Her Fetus Counts As A Passenger

July 12, 2022 / Posted by:

Since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, some celebs have spoken out or pledged to help in the fight for a woman’s right to choose. Lizzo pledged $1 million to Planned Parenthood, Jodie Sweetin was roughed up by police during a pro-choice protest, both Billy Joe Armstrong and Halsey have been vocal about the cause at their concerts, and Howard Stern threatened to run for president–which should terrify us all into getting our asses in line. But while it’s great that celebs are using their large platforms for the cause, a pregnant woman named Brandy Bottone is making some waves by calling Texas on their shit. Since Texas has defined a fetus/unborn baby as a “person” in its penal code, Brandy wasn’t having it when she got pulled over riding in the carpool lane (meant for at least two people) seemingly solo. She got a ticket for the violation but is going to fight it in court since according to Texas’ own short-sighted language, her fetus could count as her passenger.

According to CNN, Brandy, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, got pulled over two weeks ago while riding in the HOV (“high occupancy vehicle”) lane in Dallas. It’s safe to assume that pregnant women have to pee at all times, so a normal person might assume that and just let her go on her way so she could avoid having to wet-vac her car later, but this was a cop, so he began his spiel that the HOV lane is meant for at least two people.

“He said, ‘Is there somebody else in the car?’ And, looking around, I said, ‘Yes there is,’ and he said ‘Well, where?’ I pointed at my stomach and I was like, ‘Right here,'” she told CNN on Sunday.

“He said, ‘Well, it’s two bodies outside of the body, so that doesn’t count.’ I was kind of in shock, and I was like, ‘Well, in light of everything that’s happened, and I’m not trying to make a huge political stance here, but do you understand that this is a baby?'”

The interaction, first reported by The Dallas Morning News, came days after the US Supreme Court ruled there is no federal right to abortion and declared abortion rights can be determined by each state. Texas, like other states led by conservative officials, has pushed to restrict abortion and has defined a fetus or unborn baby as a “person” in its penal code.

While Brandy wasn’t able to convince the police at the scene that her fetus was her co-pilot, one of the officers basically told her that if she goes to court to contest the ticket, she’ll win, so this was all pretty much an annoying waste of her time.

“He kind of just brushed me off and asked me to go to the other officer to get my citation,” she said. The other officer said similar things and told her, “Honestly if you go and fight this I’m sure it’ll get dropped.”

“That boiled my blood, that not only did I get dismissed and didn’t have a conversation about it, but I also now just wasted my time, and I’m going to have to waste my time July 20 fighting a ticket that I feel I shouldn’t have gotten,” she said.

Bottone did not provide her own views on the Supreme Court’s decision last month.

“That’s not really why I made the stance that I did,” she said. “It just didn’t make sense to me why two different laws were not speaking the correct way.”

Even though Brandy hasn’t gotten too deep into her views on the issue, her handling of the situation may have opened up a Pandora’s box of future legal battles where lawmakers will have to do mental gymnastics to decode their own bullshit.

Bottone’s experience also previews future legal battles related to the personhood of a fetus, said Loni Coombs, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor.

“If we’re talking about a fetus being a person, there’s a lot of other rights that attach to being a person that will be litigated in the courts, such as, does my fetus qualify for a tax deduction? Does my fetus qualify for citizenship? Does my fetus qualify for child support?” she said. “These are all issues that are going to be raised and probably litigated in the courts.”

Brandy also talked to TMZ about this and said she’s getting a lot of hate mail, unsurprisingly.

No word yet from the Dallas County sheriff or the Texas Department of Transportation, but they’re probably super heated that they may be outsmarted by ladyfolk. Way to give ‘em hell, Brandy. It would be amazing if this were the catalyst for Texas to snap out of it and come to their senses about their penal code and women’s rights, but instead, this may just be the event that sets in motion the construction of Texas’ new FOV (“fetus occupied vehicle”) lanes–where two or more fetuses can joyride in their Teslas–as well as each fetus being gifted their very first hunting rifle presented in a 10-gallon hat as soon as mom produces a positive pregnancy test. Texas always gonna Texas.

Pic: NBC

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