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Pregnant motorist fights fine, citing Roe v Wade reversal — Analysis

An unmarried woman was trying to avoid getting a ticket by driving solo in a carpool lanes. Local media reports that her pregnant body is considered a person.

A pregnant woman in Texas is fighting a traffic fine for having driven in a high occupancy vehicle ‘carpool’ lane, arguing that her unborn child should now be considered as a second occupant of the car, local media reported on Friday.

According to NBC 5DFW, Brandy Bottone (from Plano) was driving on the Central Expressway at the time she was stopped. Drivers can only drive in high-occupancy lanes with two or more passengers.

Bottone said that the officer pulled over the vehicle and began to search for passengers. He also asked the expecting woman if she was with him. “No there’s two of us,”Bottone replied by pointing at her stomach. Bottone was then 34 weeks pregnant.

“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,’” she said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade, a case ruling that protected a federal right to abortion.

The officer, however, didn’t see it her way. Although Texas’ penal code recognizes a fetus as a person, the same isn’t true for the state’s transportation code. The mother was given a $275 ticket but she said that she will challenge this decision in court.

The issue at hand, according to the outlets’ legal experts interviewed by them, is in “uncharted territory.” “Different judges might treat this differently… There is no Texas statute that says what to do in this situation. The Texas Transportation Code has not been amended recently to address this particular situation,” Dallas appellate lawyer Chad Ruback said.

Late June saw the US Supreme Court overturn Roe V Wade’s 1973 decision. The federal protections for abortion were eliminated and states are now responsible for legalizing or banning this procedure. The move was slammed by many women’s rights advocates and by US President Joe Biden, who decried the move, saying that it was a “sad day for the court and the country.”

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