Moms: Raise your hand if you ever had someone unexpectedly rub your belly while you were pregnant
. All of you? Yeah, that's what I thought.
It happens so frequently that we've almost come to regard it as some sort of rite of passage for pregnancy. At any time or place - and most often just when you least expect it - people seem to think it's ok to rub a pregnant woman's belly. Even complete strangers.
But a new ruling in Pennsylvania is using an old law to put this practice in the spotlight, and make belly-rubbers think twice before they reach out to touch a pregnant woman's belly.
It all started when a man in Central PA was charged with harassment for repeatedly rubbing a woman's pregnant belly.
“Essentially, someone had touched a pregnant woman’s belly," Pennsylvania attorney Phil DiLucente told local station WPXI.com
. "That’s very common that pregnant women have to go through that. The only problem is when you harass, annoy, alarm in the act of touching, then it’s a violation, a harassment charge."
The man in question did not ask permission and continued to rub the woman's belly even after she said 'no.' So yeah, I think that does clearly qualify as harassment. A story on CNN
had readers weighing in on both sides of the issue with some thinking that calling belly-rubbing harassment is taking it too far while others agreed that enough is enough when it comes to this particular invasion into a pregnant woman's personal space.
What do you think? Should it be illegal for a stranger to rub a pregnant woman's belly without her permission?
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