Texas mother argues unborn baby should count as passenger in HOV after ticket violation

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Monday, July 11, 2022
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When the officer pulled over Brandy Bottone, he asked who else was with her. "'Uh, this!'" Bottone said, pointing to her belly. He gave her a $275 ticket.

PLANO, Texas -- Should an HOV violation against a pregnant Texas woman stand after she said her unborn child was a passenger in the lane?

That's the question now that Brandy Bottone received a $275 ticket late last month and now over the weekend, viral fame.

Her story is one that has sparked debate on both sides with words like "hero," "clever," and "brilliant" being used by some to describe Bottone's argument and others pointing to loopholes opening up as a side effect of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

It's up for debate, at least online, in the first place because on June 29, when Bottone was 34 weeks pregnant, she hopped on the HOV lane in Dallas County and got stopped by a Texas DPS officer.

According to the rules on the Texas Department of Transportation page, the HOV lane is for a vehicle occupied by two or more people or a motorcyclist.

The former was Bottone's argument -- that her unborn child should count as a passenger.

She also told The Dallas Morning News that she doesn't believe the state should have it both ways as the Texas penal code recognizes an unborn child as a person, but the state's transportation code doesn't specify.

When the officer pulled her over, he asked who else was with her.

"'Uh, this!'" Bottone said, pointing to her belly. "I was like, 'Right here, here she is.' He just looked at me, 'How do I answer this?'"

Bottone told WFAA that she wasn't trying to take a political stance, but rather, was trying to fight the ticket.

The incident happened just days after Roe v. Wade was overturned and amid the state's ban on abortions.

"'Ma'am, it's two people outside of the body,' which is a weird way of wording it," Bottone said the officer told her.

"One law is saying that this is a baby and now he's telling me this baby that's jabbing my ribs is not a baby. Why can't it all make sense?" she said, saying that the officer didn't buy her explanation and handed her the ticket.

Still, even the officer admitted that she could fight the ticket.

Now at 36 weeks pregnant, the mother of three has hired an attorney and has a court date later in July, if her baby girl doesn't arrive first.

"If there's a pro-women category, that's my stance," Bottone said.