Brandy Bottone of Plano says she received a citation for driving alone in the two-or-more occupant lane after arguing her fetus should be considered a person.
Is an unborn fetus a human being in the eyes of…Texas traffic laws?
A pregnant Dallas-area woman argued as much to police officers after recently being cited for driving alone in the HOV lane, according to a story published Friday afternoon by the Dallas Morning News’ Dave Lieber.
Lieber reports that Plano resident Brandy Bettone was driving along U.S. Highway 75 en route to picking up her son when she found herself at a checkpoint facing a citation for using the high-occupancy vehicle lane while alone in her car.
“I was driving to pick up my son. I knew I couldn’t be a minute late, so I took the HOV lane,” Bettone told Lieber. “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.”
Bettone said officers asked her if there were any more occupants inside her vehicle. Pregnant with a daughter, Bettone told the officers her unborn child was inside the vehicle with her, according to Lieber.
“I pointed to my stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person,'” Bettone said. However the officers were not buying it. “He said, ‘Oh, no. It’s got to be two people outside of the body.'”
Bettone spoke with multiple officers over the course of her encounter, she told Lieber. One seemed indifferent, Bettone claimed, while another gave her a citation and told her to challenge it in court to have it thrown out.
“One kind of brushed me off when I mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. ‘So I don’t know why you’re not seeing that,’ I said,” Bettone explained. “He was like, ‘I don’t want to deal with this….Ma’am, it means two persons outside of the body.”
Bettone ended up receiving a $215 citation and instructions from the issuing officer suggesting that if she fought it, it would most likely get dropped. According to Lieber, the Dallas County Sheriff Department has declined to issue a statement on Bettone’s citation or pregnancy defense.
In Texas, all abortions are now illegal following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe and pending enactment of state trigger laws on the practice. Prior to the high court’s ruling, all abortions past six weeks of pregnancy had been outlawed by the Texas Heartbeat Act. This prior measure had been modeled closely after language crafted by Christian anti-abortion group Faith2Action Ministries, which has defined the presence of a fetal heartbeat as a marker of “an unborn human individual,” according to The Texas Tribune.
Bettone said she does not plan to pay her fine for the incident.
“I will be fighting it,” she said.