In Plano, Texas, one woman is fighting a recent traffic ticket with the argument that her unborn child should count as a second passenger.
In June 2022, Brandy Bottone was stopped at a sheriff’s checkpoint when she was driving down the expressway in the high-occupancy vehicle lane. In order to occupy these lanes, by law, drivers must have at least one passenger in the vehicle with them.
Bottone told NBC DFW, an NBC affiliate in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex, that when she was stopped by the officer, they began to search her car for another passenger.
“He’s like, ‘Is it just you?’ And I said, ‘No, there’s two of us?’” she explained. “And he said, ‘Well, where’s the other person?’”
The expectant mother then said she pointed to her stomach and said, “Right here,” as she was 34 weeks pregnant at the time. The officer discredited her argument, telling Bottone that her unborn child did not count as an additional passenger in this case.
“And then I said, ‘Well (I’m) not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on (with Roe v. Wade), this counts as a baby,’” she told the outlet.
According to Texas penal code, the term “individual” refers to a “human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”
Bottone ultimately received a $275 ticket, but has plans to fight the fine this month during her next court date on July 20.
TODAY has reached out to Bottone for further comment.
Last month on June 24, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. While Washington, D.C., and 16 states have laws that protect abortion even amid the overturning of the landmark case, there were 13 states that had trigger laws in place that ban abortion without many exceptions, which included Texas.
The law, referred to as the Texas Heartbeat Act, banned abortions after fetal cardiac activity could be detected or as early as six weeks into pregnancy. This would allow anyone in the United States to sue both abortion providers and individuals who helped pregnant people receive an abortion after that time frame.