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Pregnant Texas Brandy Bottone uses Roe inversion to fight HOV lane ticket, says fetus is passenger

A pregnant Texas woman who was ticketed for driving in the HOV lane suggested that Roe vs. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court means her fetus counted as a passenger and she should not have been cited.

Brandy Bottone was driving on the Central Expressway in Dallas recently when she was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy at an HOV checkpoint to see if there were at least two occupants per vehicle, as expected. When the sheriff looked around her car last month, she told The Washington Post he asked, “Is it just you or is someone else driving with you?”

“I said, ‘Oh, there are two of us,'” Bottone said. “And he said, ‘Where?'”

Bottone, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, pointed to her belly. Although she said her ‘little girl is here’, Bottone said, one of the MPs she met on June 29 told her there must be ‘two bodies outside the body’ . While the state criminal code recognizes a fetus as a person, the Texas Transportation Code does not.

“An officer kind of dismissed me when I mentioned it was a living child, after all that’s going on with the knockdown of Roe vs. Wade. “So I don’t know why you don’t see that,” I said,” she told the Dallas Morning News, which first reported the story.

Bottone was fined $215 for driving alone into the lane of two or more occupants – a citation she told local media she would challenge in court this month.

“I’m going to fight it,” Bottone, 32, of Plano, Texas, told The Post.

Although the Texas Department of Transportation has not indicated whether it plans to change the transportation code, Bottone’s case is one that could move the state into “uncharted territory” following the decision of the June 24 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationChad Ruback, a Dallas-based appellate attorney, told the Post.

“I find his argument creative, but I don’t believe, based on the current iteration of the Texas transportation code, that his argument would likely succeed in an appellate court,” he said. “That being said, it’s entirely possible that she could find a trial court judge who would reward her for her creativity.”

Ruback added: “This is a very unique situation in American jurisprudence.

Representatives from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news comes as all corners of the country deal with the fallout from the Supreme Court’s ruling more than two weeks ago. President Biden delivered a moving speech on Friday announcing a series of measures to strengthen abortion rights, responding to growing demands from activists for him to take bolder and stronger action. Biden signing an executive order to improve access to reproductive health services was a move generally welcomed by abortion activists, but many said it likely wouldn’t do much for women in states where the Abortion is prohibited. The president acknowledged the limits of his executive powers, saying the Dobbs decision was “the terrible, extreme and, I think, totally wrong decision of the Supreme Court”.

“What we are witnessing was not a constitutional judgment,” Biden said. “It was an exercise in raw political power.”

Biden, in fiery speech, announces actions on abortion rights

Texas is among 13 states that had ‘trigger bans’ designed to go into effect once deer was overturned, banning abortions within 30 days of the decision.

This Texas teenager wanted an abortion. She now has twins.

It was Texas’ nearly century-old abortion ban that was ruled unconstitutional in Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. After the Supreme Court overturned deer On June 24, in a 5-4 decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) indicated that prosecutors can now enforce the 1925 law, which he called “100% good law” on Twitter. Abortion rights groups and clinics have sued, arguing it should be construed as repealed and unenforceable.

A Harris County, Texas judge granted a temporary order last month allow clinics to offer abortions for at least two weeks without criminal prosecution. Judge Christine Weems (D) ruled that a pre-deer the ban imposed by Paxton and prosecutors would “inevitably and irreparably chill the provision of abortions in the last vital weeks during which safer abortion care remains available and legal in Texas.”

But the Texas Supreme Court granted an “emergency motion for temporary relief” from Weems’ ruling last week, after Paxton sought the injunction.

Texas Supreme Court blocks order allowing abortions to resume

Five days after the Dobbs decision, Bottone said she was in a hurry to pick up her 6-year-old son and decided to drive her GMC Yukon into the HOV lane because she “couldn’t be a minute late.”

As she attempted to argue that the fetus was her second passenger, Bottone told the Post that the deputy was not open to argument.

“I thought that was weird and said, ‘With everything going on, especially in Texas, that counts as a baby,'” she said. “He kind of waved me on and said, ‘This officer is going to take care of you.'”

Bottone said that although one of the deputies told her the ticket would likely be dropped if she fought him, she is upset the citation was issued in the first place.

“I thought it was a waste of time. It just rubbed me wrong,” she said. “I don’t think that’s fair.”

Bottone pointed out that while she thinks women should have choice about what they do with their bodies, “that doesn’t mean I’m also pro-choice.” She noted that she also drove in the HOV lane when she was pregnant with her first child, her 6-year-old son.

Ruback told the Post he doesn’t know if Texas or other states would consider such a change to their transportation codes.

“It’s entirely possible that Brandy could ask representatives of the Legislature to make this change, but I haven’t heard of it if it happened,” said Ruback, who is not involved in the process. his case. “My impression is that she would be happy if she got off her ticket. Again, these are unusual times we live in, that’s for sure.

Bottone told the Post that she hopes Texas laws will be consistent on how measures recognize unborn children.

“The laws don’t speak the same language, and it’s all been a bit confusing, honestly,” she said.

She is due in court on July 20, just two weeks before her daughter’s due date on August 3.

“It wasn’t because of Roe vs. Wade that I jumped in the HOV lane,” she said. “I was just thinking about me and one other person.”

Matt Viser, Caroline Kitchener and Adela Suliman contributed to this report.