Texas, get your s**t together!!
A pregnant woman in Plano is fighting the state’s decision of giving her a traffic ticket while using the carpool lane — and with good reason!
Brandy Battone was driving down Central Expressway on June 29 when she came to a sheriff’s checkpoint near the I-635 exit. She was driving in a High Occupancy Vehicle lane, which you may know as a carpool lane. Texas law requires at least 2 people be in a vehicle to use the lane, so when it appeared Brandy was in her car alone, she was stopped by police.
The woman, who is 34 weeks pregnant, recounted what happened at the traffic stop and told NBCDFW:
“He starts peeking around. He’s like, ‘Is it just you?’ And I said, ‘No there’s two of us?’ And he said, ‘Well, where’s the other person?’ And I went, ‘right here.’”
At which point she pointed to her stomach, showing the police officer that she was pregnant. The officer told her that it “didn’t count”, but she disagreed, claiming that her unborn “counts as a baby” in her resident state:
“And then I said, ‘Well [I’m] not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on … this counts as a baby.”
As you know, with the recent overturning of Roe v Wade, many states have made abortion a felony crime due to trigger laws. One of these “trigger states” was Texas, meaning it has banned abortions. Recently a judge ruled that abortions up to 6 weeks into gestation will be temporarily allowed, however this still is a HUGE problem considering 1 in 5 women find out they’re pregnant in the 7th week or after.
Lawmakers can’t have it both ways. They can’t pick and choose when a fetus is considered a person based on whatever is most convenient at the moment. So which is it? Do the laws consider an in-utero baby a person or not? (Honestly, pregnant women should be allowed in the carpool lane anyway!)
Although penal code recognizes a fetus as a person, it seems there’s nothing in the Texas Transportation Department’s code that recognizes a fetus as a person or a passenger. So this definitely is something that needs to be addressed. If the fetus is a person like they insist, shouldn’t it be considered a passenger if it’s inside the car with the mother? Or if it isn’t a person, then why is that lawmakers’ biggest argument about banning abortions and “saving the unborn children”? Hmm…there seems to be some contradiction there…
Battone plans to fight her ticket in court, although deputies have warned her that her case would likely be dismissed. She stands strong on her belief that her child should be considered a passenger in the car and she shouldn’t have been ticketed for using the HOV lane. She told The Morning News:
“This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life. I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking.”
She has a really great point!
The 32-year-old’s court date is set for July 20, which is very close to her due date. If she goes into labor that day, she would definitely be allowed to reschedule due to medical exemption — but why can’t she drive in the multi-passenger lane with a medical exemption? If lawmakers are going to push so hard that in-utero fetuses are people, then they should be recognized as people all the time.
Check out another interview with Brandy (below)
What do U think, Perezcious readers? Sound off in the comments!