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COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — Brandy Bottone was 34 weeks along when she alone took the high occupancy vehicle lane, or HOV lane, on Central Expressway in Dallas County.
She felt it was right to think the child she’s carrying is a passenger in a lane designed for vehicles with two or more passengers.
When pulled over by a Texas DPS officer on June 29 at 8:15 a.m. she was asked who else was in the car.
“I was like, ‘Uh, this!,'” pointing to her belly. “I was like, ‘Right here, here she is.’ He just looked at me, ‘How do I answer this?'” Brandy recalled.
Bottone of Plano tells WFAA that in the moment she wasn’t trying to take a stand but only trying to fight a ticket. For context Roe v. Wade had just been overturned several days before, and Texas has an impending ban on abortions.
“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. Why can’t it all make sense?” she posed rhetorically.
The officer wasn’t buying her explanation, and she was handed a $275 ticket for an HOV violation.
“‘Ma’am, it’s two people outside of the body,’ which is a weird way of wording it,” she recalled the officer telling her at the time.
The Texas Department of Transportation’s online description of the HOV rule isn’t entirely clear. It reads simply, “A vehicle occupied by two or more people.”
Even the officer admitted she could fight the ticket and hundreds, even thousands, of people on social media feel that, too.
“Just the outpour of support from women all over the world… all sorts of emotions. I’m trying to keep my blood pressure down, let’s not go into labor yet,” Brandy laughed.
The mother of three is taking a neutral stance politically. In the last several days, she’s heard from both sides of the abortion debate.
But, what she will say is, “If there’s a pro-women category, that’s my stance.”
Now at 36 weeks along, Bottone has hired an attorney and has a court date in late July to fight her ticket.
That is, if her daughter doesn’t come first.