The Unborn Baby In The HOV Lane: Is He/She A Passenger?

The Unborn Baby In The HOV Lane: Is He/She A Passenger?


Leonard Zwelling

Outside of Dallas, which is still in Texas, a woman named Brandy Bottone was pulled over by the police for driving alone in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane of a highway. When she was given her citation, the woman argued that there was second person in the car with her and pointed to her very 34-week pregnant abdomen. The cops weren’t buying that the unborn child was a person, but in Texas, that unborn child has rights now and thus should be considered a full person and thus allow the mother carrying the person to ride in the HOV lane, don’t you think?

Of course, this whole argument seems silly at first, but the woman has a point. As the attached articles point out, what other rights does the unborn child have in Texas? Is the unborn child a tax deduction? What about qualifying the parents for a child tax credit? Can his/her mother get on the plane during pre-boarding with the pre-born infant in her womb? The baby is, after all, less than two. This is what happens when you let state legislators decide who is and who is not a person and regulate issues that should be between a woman and her doctor.

This is also the fallacy of the Supreme Court’s ruling to abandon Roe v. Wade. Chief Justice Roberts had it right. If you want to constitutionalize the Mississippi law that was under consideration that would have banned abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, do that. There was no reason to strike down Roe especially since more Americans favor abortion rights than wish them abolished. And, like it or not, the Supreme Court justices are political appointees who must consider the politics of their decisions not simply cling to text that is over 200 years old.

As I understand it, the justification for the ban on legal abortion in Texas after six weeks of gestation is that the fetus is a person. If the fetus is a person, that fetus ought to have the same rights as any other person. Of course, the baby’s mother may have to buy two tickets at the movies or leave an elevator in a hospital if three other people get on it or get a passport for the child (use the sonogram photo for the passport) if the baby’s mother wants to leave the country during her pregnancy, but heck, let’s be consistent.

The argument can be taken to ludicrous conclusions, but in the end, the consequences of these state legislative decisions to ban abortion must be considered in a larger context than what individual legislators (mostly men) believe.

President Biden was unprepared for the Supreme Court decision on Roe despite having had ample warning that it was coming given the early leak of the text. All of this falls squarely on the shoulders of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. Without Ginsburg’s obstinacy, McConnell’s deviousness, Trump’s insanity, and Hillary’s inept campaign, none of this would have come to pass. Let’s also blame the Democrats in the Congress of 2009 who should have finalized Roe into legislation when they had 60 Senate seats.

I say let the woman drive in the HOV lane. I’ll bet the judge at the hearing for the ticket will, too. That occurs on July 20. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “The Unborn Baby In The HOV Lane: Is He/She A Passenger?”

  1. I think it’s wonderful that we can extend these benefits to pregnant women. There are many cultures recognize call personhood from conception. I have no problem giving expectant mothers some privilege during their nine months. I do not resent it when I see a special parking spot for them. Good for the mother in the HOV lane, I hope she wins.

    As a lawyer, I find your legal argument appalling. What kind of doctor are you? It seems like a partisan one, at best.

    1. Leonard Zwelling

      I’m not sure I’m a partisan doctor, but I can see nonsense when it stares me in the face. I’m all for special parking spaces for pregnant women. Want to bet it will be a man who uses it first? There’s a middle ground here as there is with abortion law. Safe, legal and rare and the Mississippi law was not bad at all. That doesn’t mean that Roe should have been abandoned.

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