A Texas woman is heading to court to fight a ticket she received for driving alone in the carpool lane, arguing that her unborn fetus should be counted as a passenger in wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court.
Brandy Bottone, then 34 weeks pregnant, claims she was ticketed by police in Dallas on June 29 for driving alone in the high-occupancy vehicle lane, which requires at least two people in the car.
"As I exited the HOV, there was a checkpoint at the end of the exit. I slammed on my brakes, and I was pulled over by police," Bottone told The Dallas Morning News.
An officer looked into Bottone's car and asked if anyone was with her, to which she replied, "Yes."
“He asked, 'Where?' I pointed to my stomach and said, 'My baby girl is right here. She is a person,'" said Bottone. "He said, ‘Oh, no. It's got to be two people outside of the body.'"
Bottone said the officer brushed her off when she "mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade," and issued her a $215 citation.
"This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life," Botone told the Morning News. "I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking."
While Texas penal code does recognize an unborn child as a person, the state's transportation code does not, KXAS-TV reported. At least one state lawmaker wants to see that changed.
"Unborn babies are persons (meaning they're also passengers), and should be treated accordingly under Texas laws. Will introduce legislation to clarify this," tweeted Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison (R).
The Dallas County Sheriff Department did not comment on Bottone's citation, though they did clarify that deputies technically weren't operating a checkpoint because not every driver was stopped. A spokesperson told the Morning News that the only vehicles stopped were ones in which deputies could visually see only one occupant.
Bottone told the newspaper she is fighting the ticket, and a court date is set for July 20.
Texas is among the 13 states that had "trigger bans" designed to take effect once Roe was struck down, prohibiting abortions within 30 days of the ruling, The Washington Post reported.