A pregnant woman has disputed a ticket she received for driving alone in a US carpool lane, saying her foetus now counts as a person.
She pointed to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a woman’s right to access abortion, which triggered a law in Texas that defines an unborn child as a living human from the moment of fertilisation.
Virtually all abortions in the state will become illegal in the coming weeks after the US Supreme Court overturned the ruling it made in a 1973 case known as Roe v Wade.
Five days after the decision, Brandy Bottone was pulled over in a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
“I said, ‘Well, not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on, this counts as a baby’,” she said, pointing to her belly.
Ms Bottone, who was eight months pregnant when she was stopped, is planning to contest the ticket in court next week.
“I was driving to pick up my son,” she said.
“I knew I couldn’t be a minute late, so I took the HOV lane.”
Bottone said she’s not taking a stand for or against abortion – but the law should be uniform.
“If there’s a pro-women category, that’s my stance,” she said.
“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,” the 32-year-old said. “Why can’t it all make sense?”
Dallas attorney Chad Ruback said her argument is not as far-fetched as one might think.
“I find her argument creative, but I don’t believe based on the current itineration of Texas Transportation Code that her argument would likely succeed in front of an appellate court,” he told the Washington Post.
“That being said, it’s entirely possible she could find a trial court judge who would award her for her creativity.”
A judge rejected a similar claim in 2006, saying the rules were designed to fill empty seats in a vehicle.
Republican state representative Brian Harrison said he plans to introduce legislation to clarify that unborn babies should be treated as passengers.
“Unborn babies are persons (meaning they’re also passengers), and should be treated accordingly under Texas laws,” he wrote on Twitter.