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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