It’s something a pregnant woman experiences all the time: she’s out in public and a well-meaning stranger excitedly reaches out to pat, rub, or touch her belly. Annoying? Yes. But in Pennsylvania, it can also be illegal.
Recently, a pregnant woman in central Pennsylvania pressed charges against a man for repeatedly touching her belly even though she had told him not to. The incident sparked the state to put out a reminder of a law that’s already been in place. That law states that “when you harass, annoy, alarm [a woman] in the act of touching, then it’s a harassment charge,” Pennsylvania attorney Phil DiLucente told WPXI News.
What exactly does that mean? It means that if an elderly woman excitedly places a hand on a woman’s belly at the grocery store, for instance, she’s not breaking the law. But if someone repeatedly touches a mom-to-be’s belly after she tells him or her to stop, that is illegal, and the offender could face harassment charges.
The story was widely reported in the media, sparking a variety of reactions from women. Some said having their belly touched would not bother them at all. Some said it was annoying, but that they felt the law was a bit excessive. And others thought the law should be enacted in all states.
No matter what state you live in, though, you can make it pretty clear you don’t want your belly touched with one of several maternity shirts from CafePress.
You can go for chuckles:
You can take a tough approach:
Or you can simply get to the point:
What do you think about the Pennsylvania harassment law? Do you think it’s fair or excessive? And, would you wear one of these maternity shirts? Let us know in the comments!