At first, she thought it was just another routine traffic stop. But when the cop explained the situation to the pregnant woman, realization struck. She now knew that she was about to get a ticket.
But before he could act, she said something that stopped him in his tracks, leaving him speechless. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do next. She wasn’t making this easy for him.
Brandy Bottone from Plano, Texas, got pulled over in June by an officer with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. She had no idea how viral her story was about to become.
Bottone was driving safely as usual, especially since she was pregnant as well and didn’t expect to be pulled over. It came as quite a surprise for her.
Bottone has always been a fighter. Ever since high school, she has been an activist for women’s rights and vowed to raise her children to be able to fight their own battles as well.
When she was stopped by the traffic cop, she didn’t realize the situation would turn into another battle for her rights. But the officer just wouldn’t give her a break no matter what.
The woman was 7-months pregnant and couldn’t afford any stress or situation that might endanger her baby or her health. But that wasn’t as easy as it seemed.
Unfortunately, when the cop told her why she was stopped, Bottone found it difficult to keep her composure and treat the situation with calm. The whole thing was outrageous.
Bottone had been driving on U.S. Highway 75 South, using the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, when she approached what appeared to be a checkpoint.
The woman was driving to pick up her son. She knew she couldn’t be a minute late, so she took the HOV lane. She didn’t think she was doing anything wrong, but the cop who would stop her disagreed with her actions.
As Bottone exited the HOV, there was a checkpoint at the end of the road. She slammed on her brakes, and she was pulled over by police. She had no idea what was happening. She’d always been a careful driver.
An officer peeked in and asked, ‘Is there anybody else in the car?’ The question seemed silly to the woman as she thought the answer was obvious.
As the pregnant woman struggled to find her documents and get them ready for the officer, she still wondered what she had done wrong. Why was she stopped?
The cop told her she was driving in the wrong lane and that he was about to give her a fine. The woman couldn’t believe what was happening.
When asked if there was someone else in the car with her, the woman replied “yes,” but after scanning the vehicle and seeing no other occupants, the officer pressed her for an explanation.
Bottone pointed to her stomach and said, ‘My baby girl is right here. She is a person.’ But that answer didn’t fly with the officer, who replied that a second occupant had to be “outside of the body.”
The woman was furious. She couldn’t believe what was happening. She never broke the law in her life, and now it seemed like the officer was out to get her.
She tried to explain the situation again, but the officer wouldn’t listen. He was committed to giving her a ticket no matter what. Things didn’t look well for the pregnant woman.
But the officer just wouldn’t accept the pregnant woman’s answer no matter what. He even asked her to step out of the vehicle.
What was going on? Bottone was not going to let it play out like this. But what could she do to get out of the situation? The officer was just about to write her the ticket when she came up with the perfect answer.
Bottone, who was 34 weeks pregnant at the time, doubled down, citing the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade and arguing that her unborn child was a person and counted as a passenger. The officer still wasn’t having it.
He said, ‘I don’t want to deal with this.’ He said, ‘Ma’am, it means two persons outside of the body.'”
Another officer gave her the ticket but told her that it would probably get dropped if she fought it. That wasn’t enough for Bottone, who has made the incident very public since then.
“But they still gave me a ticket,” she said. “So my $215 ticket was written to cause inconvenience? This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life. I know this may fall on deaf ears, but as a woman, this was shocking. I will be fighting it.”
While the penal code in Texas recognizes an unborn child as a person in the state, the Texas Transportation Code does not specify the same. And a child residing in a mother’s womb is not taking up an extra seat. And with only one occupant taking up a seat, the car did not meet the criteria needed to drive in that lane.
When The Dallas Morning News reached out to Planned Parenthood for a statement, they declined to comment.
Since her story has gone viral, Bottone has clarified that she didn’t intend her argument to be political but rather a movement to resolve a legal discrepancy. She also says that she’s received a lot of support.
“It’s eye-opening to see how many women have messaged me, reached out to me just wanting to be a part of this, saying ‘I’m here to support you,'” she said in an updated interview with The Dallas Morning News. “People in New Zealand are messaging me right now. I can’t get to everyone. I wish I could just tell them thank you.”
Bottone would see getting the ticket dropped as confirmation that she was in the right and pregnant women should be able to use the HOV lane, which would require some change in the wording of the Texas Transportation Code.
To top it all off, as the court date neared and Bottone was being pressed for interviews, she was doing her best to reduce stress and not raise her blood pressure. After all, she was due in August.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.