A woman in the US state of Texas has said she will file an appeal against a traffic ticket claiming her unborn baby should count as a passenger after she was fined for driving in a lane intended for vehicles with more than one person on board.
Brandy Bottone, 32, was fined $275 on June 29 after being stopped by Texan police.
She argued that with the US Supreme Court overturning the constitutional right to abortion, her baby should count as a person. Bottone, who is 34 weeks pregnant, plans to challenge the fine in court.
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She said the incident took place after she used the lane intended for cars with at least two passengers on board because she was in a hurry to pick up her six-year-old son. As soon as she left the track, she was stopped by the police.
Bottone told the Dallas Morning News that when asked if there were other passengers in her car, she pointed to her belly and told the officer: “My baby is right here. She’s a person”.
But the officer reportedly said the trail required two people “out of body” and fined her.
The recent move by the US Supreme Court to reverse Roe v Wade — the landmark decision that 50 years ago guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion — has reignited the debate over the rights of babies.
Texas is among 13 US states that enacted laws banning abortion even before the Supreme Court’s decision — it is now up to each State to decide on the voluntary termination of pregnancy.
In late June, a judge granted an injunction allowing abortion clinics in Texas to run for another two weeks. This decision, however, was blocked by the State Supreme Court.
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The mother who was stopped by police in Texas said she took the entire current context of the abortion discussion into account when she argued against the traffic ticket.
“I thought that [ser parada pela polícia] was a strange thing and said ‘with everything that’s going on, especially in Texas, this counts as a baby,” Bottone told the Washington Post.
Furthermore, she stated that she had already used the lane for vehicles with more than one passenger during her previous pregnancy. While she told the paper that she believes women should have a choice about what they do with their bodies, “that doesn’t mean I’m also pro-life (in favor of abortion rights).”
While the Texas Penal Code recognizes an unborn baby as a person, the state’s traffic laws do not.
Legal experts suggest that Bottone’s case exposes a “grey area” that has emerged since the US Supreme Court’s decision last month.
The text was published at https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional-62132871