Texas bill would let fetus count as second person in an HOV lanes

A bill filed in Texas would allow a fetus to count as an individual when a pregnant person is driving in an HOV lane.

A bill filed in Texas would allow a fetus to count as an individual when a pregnant person is driving in an HOV lane.

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A proposed bill filed in Texas would allow a fetus to count as an individual when a pregnant person is driving in a high occupancy vehicle lane, or HOV lane. Representative Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown, proposed House Bill No. 521, this week among the hundreds filed ahead of the 2023 legislature session. 

If the HOV bill is approved, it would go into effect in September 2023 as part of the state’s Transportation Code. The bill follows a controversial incident earlier this year when pregnant Plano resident Brandy Bottone claimed that new anti-abortion laws in the state meant her unborn child entitled her to drive in the lane, usually reserved for carpools, buses, and other rideshares.

In June, Bottone was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer for taking the HOV lane on Central Expressway in Dallas County. When the officer asked who else was in the car, she pointed to her belly and said “Uh, this!” 

The ticket came days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — a 1973 landmark case that deemed the right to abortion constitutional. The ruling this summer left the issue of abortion up to the states. Bottone said that since her unborn child was now considered a living person, she was not driving in the HOV lane without a second person. 

Her ticket and case were dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office “based on a review of the facts and circumstances of this case, and the applicable law.” 

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