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We sometimes forget that our relationship with our cars is vulnerable to the ever-shifting face of our government. Given the recent Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe Vs. Wade, deciding on when a human life starts is a highly divisive issue in our country. Texas, in particular, is pushing the hardest for the most stringent and even dangerous abortion regulations because of the state’s view that life starts at conception. Interestingly, a pregnant woman in Texas was recently pulled over and fined for driving in the HOV lane despite the state’s views on the subject. 

Traffic on the highway with an HOV lane
HOV Lane | Getty

This is an interesting point of contradiction for a state who claims unborn children have legal standing in one setting yet doesn’t give them the same standing past the politically expedient nature of the abortion debate. 

Can pregnant women drive in an HOV lane? 

A pregnant lady drives her car.
A pregnant lady drives her car. | Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post

The accused woman says she will fight the $215 ticket she got for driving in the carpool lane alone. The driver was 34 weeks pregnant at the time of the fine. She believes that since the state has made a show of “valuing human life at every stage,” then the unborn child should maintain its status in the carpool lane. 

According to CarScoops, 34-year-old Brandy Bottone was driving to pick up her young son when she decided to hit the HOV lane and quickly came across a police checkpoint. 

In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Bottone said that the officer looked inside her car and asked, “Is there anybody else in the car?” She responded by pointing to her stomach and saying, “Well, yes, my baby girl is right here. She is a person.” 

“Oh, no. It’s got to be two people outside of the body,” the officer responded. 

“He waved me on to the next cop who gave me a citation and said, ‘If you fight it, it will most likely get dropped,’” Bottone added. “But they still gave me a ticket. So my $215 ticket was written to cause inconvenience?” 

Overturning Roe V Wade is even confusing for drivers

Traffic tickets
Corona Police Department motor officer writes a citation to a motorist | Getty

Bottone mentions that in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe V Wade, the state has made its point quite clear on the fact that her unborn child is considered a person. She said that she found it “shocking” that the police couldn’t see it that way. 

Overturning Roe Vs. Wade is making laws more confusing

Regardless of where anyone falls on the Roe Vs Wade discussion, overturning such a complex Supreme Court this quickly is making many other aspects of governance more confusing, unclear, and dangerous. 

However, speaking on the matter, a spokeswoman for Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group, Amy O’Donnell, seems to think that the local laws were quite clear.

“While the penal code in Texas recognizes an unborn child as a person in our state, the Texas Transportation Code does not specify the same,” she said. “And a child residing in a mother’s womb is not taking up an extra seat. And with only one occupant taking up a seat, the car did not meet the criteria needed to drive in that lane.”

Given the clear contradiction between the various Texas penal codes, Bottone is set on taking her fight to court later this month. 


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