Texas Republican Proposes Bill to Let Pregnant People Drive in the HOV Lane

Cute-sounding idea, but it's just a backdoor attempt to establish fetal personhood.

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Image: Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images (Getty Images)

A conservative wanker in the Texas House has filed legislation that would allow pregnant peopleto drive in the HOV lane when alone—clearly a backdoor attempt to establish a legal precedent for fetal personhood. The one-page bill, filed last week by state Rep. Briscoe Cain (R), is straightforward in its request:

An operator of a motor vehicle who is pregnant is entitled to use any high occupancy vehicle lane in this state regardless of whether the vehicle is occupied by a passenger other than the operator’s unborn child.

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On first reading, HB153 seems like one of hundreds of bizarre bills that populate state legislatures every year, never to make it out of committee with little chance of making it into law. But this bill language is intended to recognize a fetus as a legal person— the conservative endgame—as part of the Texas GOP’s longterm plan to criminalizing abortion entirely. Fetal personhood laws allow conservatives to call the health procedure murder, just like Operation Rescue cofounder Randall Allen Terry said we should.

This isn’t Cain’s first attempt to meddle in the healthcare choices of constituents. He is also a sponsor of notorious SB8, the six-week abortion ban making its way through federal court system that deputizes citizens to spy on and sue each other for helping people obtain abortions.

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The kooky “HOV lane” backdoor to fetal personhood has had an unsuccessful defense attempt in court. In 2006, Candace Dickinson was fined $367 for driving alone in an Arizona carpool lane after claiming her fetus was her second passenger. This broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition did give us this gem: “The judge says the carpool rules are meant to fill empty space in a vehicle, and cops can’t conduct pregnancy tests.”

I would never advocate for giving police more say in bodily health, but it would be a lie to say I didn’t laugh at the image of someone pulled over on a Texas highway having to figure out how to pee on a stick.

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Cute use of inclusive language, though!

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