There’s been an ongoing fight to determine at what point a fetus becomes a person. Most conservatives agree that life starts as soon as there’s a heartbeat. Meanwhile, liberals argue that it’s not a person until it’s out of the womb and breathing on its own, which is why they’re not bothered by aborting it, even in the late-term.
Now, Texas might be forced to put its money where its mouth is. With Texas’ heartbeat ban in effect, they’re saying that babies have rights. They cannot simply be aborted once a heartbeat has been detected.
If unborn babies have rights, the mothers of those babies can utilize those rights – and that includes being able to use the HOV lane while pregnant. And yes, one woman has already decided to use this interpretation of the law to help her out.
Brandy Bottone of Plano, Texas decided to use the HOV lane. She is quick to acknowledge that she saw that she was in an HOV lane and knows that it requires a passenger to be in the lane.
She was pulled over for being alone in the car while in the HOV lane. The officer who pulled her over was looking inside the car and asked if it was just her. Bottone said that there were two of them, which is when the officer wanted to know where the other person was. She went “right here” and pointed down to her belly, where she’s 34 weeks pregnant.
Bottone’s argument is simple. If the state recognizes that a fetus is a baby, she should have the right to drive in the HOV lane. In an interview with NBC News, she admitted that she didn’t want to get political, but because of all that is going on right now, her baby bump counts as a baby.
The penal code in Texas recognizes a fetus as a person. However, the State Transportation Department’s code does not recognize a fetus as such. The penal code’s definition of an “individual” is “a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”
So, which jurisdiction does the case fall into? Realistically, if the requirement is for another “individual” to be in the car, then Bottone’s argument stands.
The story has been generating quite a few comments on social media. While many feel as though the pregnant Texas woman is being smart about her rights, others are worried that it will ruin everything. One person commented, “What a headache. She’s going to ruin the HOV for everyone, as everyone will claim to be pregnant.”
Right now, she’s forcing the state’s hand to make a clear-cut definition of “individual” for all potential cases in the future. Obviously, the law never expected a pregnant woman to claim access to the HOV lane.
The officers who ticketed Bottone told her that if she fought the ticket in court, it would likely be dismissed. She’s planning to do exactly that as the ticket is approximately $200. “One law is saying it one way, and another law is saying it another way,” the Texas woman goes on. And she most certainly has a point.
Morgan Chesky, the NBC News correspondent covering the story, is eager to see how this plays out. One of the reasons is that Bottone will end up in one room soon – either the delivery room or the courtroom. The court date she was given to handle the matter is very close to her estimated due date.
This is definitely not the last we’ll hear about this case.