A pregnant woman in the state of Texas was recently given a ticket for driving her car in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) Lane. According to the statute, two or more persons are required in the vehicle to legally use this lane. She is going to court to contest the ticket. Her argument is simple: she is pregnant and thus there were two persons in the vehicle. The argument is based on the recent Texas law recognizing the fetus as a living human being. She says she is not political by nature and doesn’t seek any special recognition. Texas has given her child legal status as a person and she only asks that she/he be recognized as a person under all legal circumstances. A novel argument to be sure, but certainly logical.
Mary Ziegler, a legal historian focusing on abortion, states that “Historically, conversations about fetal personhood have been about introducing increasingly harsh penalties for people who either perform abortions or ‘aid and abet’ abortions.” “That isn’t the only way you can think about personhood.”
The state of Georgia, which has passed a legal personhood law for the fetus is now struggling with how to exactly apply the law. Consider a pregnant woman consuming alcohol. Would she be guilty of child endangerment and allowing a minor to consume alcohol?
These are serious questions to be sure. However, seeking reasonable answers are well worth the effort to bring about the recognition of the fetus as a human person with all the legal rights of personhood.