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Why rubbing a pregnant belly could be illegal in PA

So we wanna clear up something you may have heard in the headlines:

“A new law protecting pregnant women from unwanted belly rubbing.” (Via KTTV)

“Pennsylvania has actually made it illegal to touch the belly of a pregnant woman without her permission!” (Via WRGT)

Yes, it COULD be unlawful to touch a pregnant woman’s belly in Pennsylvania, but ONLY if she considers it harassment. In which case, it would fall under the state’s anti-harassment statute.

ATTORNEY: “The only problem is when you harass, annoy, alarm in the act of touching, then it’s a violation, a harassment charge.” (Via WPXI)

And contrary to reports — it’s not a new law.

Harassment of any kind hasn’t been okay in the eyes of the law for a while.

And touching a pregnant belly without permission could be a kind of harassment. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

The story made national news after a pregnant woman pressed harassment charges against a man she said repeatedly touched her belly.

According to NBC, the man was a neighbor, and the woman didn’t want him touching her. He was charged with harassment.

So what really happened was — overly handsy people got a reminder that it could be harassment under existing Pennsylvania law.

Still — the story sparked discussion about an experience pregnant women know all too well: total strangers feeling entitled to touch their bellies.

Which, when you get down to it, some pregnant women say deserves a conversation of its own.

“A total stranger, I prefer to not. The women said at the very least, just ask for permission before you reach out.” (Via WCBS)

- See more at Newsy.com

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