Baby on board? Texas bill would say a fetus can legally be a second passenger in HOV lanes

November 18, 2022

Remember Brandy Bottone of Plano, Texas—the pregnant mom who told police that she should not get a ticket for driving solo in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane? She explained that her fetus, under Texas’ abortion law, should be considered a second passenger. And the unforeseeable happened: Her ticket was dismissed, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Now, the Lone Star State is on the verge of having what could be called “the Brandy bill.” State Representative Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) is one of the Texas Legislature’s leading anti-abortionists. This week, he introduced House Bill 521 for the 2023 legislative session.

The short bill states that a pregnant driver “is entitled to use any HOV lane in the state.” Although the language is unclear, we can assume that means that the driver won’t get a ticket for driving in the lane.

How will this be enforced? Can a pregnant woman not yet “showing” announce she’s pregnant and get a pass? Do pregnant mothers need to carry a doctor’s note? What about a photo of an ultrasound scan? Can’t wait to see how this is sorted out.

Bottone said, “Wow! This is a wonderful step forward for the women of Texas. Pregnancy is stressful, but your anxiety is through the roof without the hassle of being stopped and questioned if another life is on board is a step in the right direction.”

Research contact: @dallasnews