46° F

Touching pregnant woman's belly against the law in Pa.

Published On: Oct 28 2013 05:41:40 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 28 2013 06:46:48 PM EDT

As children, we all learn to keep our hands to ourselves.

As children, we all learn to keep our hands to ourselves, but when it comes to touching a pregnant woman's belly, sometimes those lessons are overlooked.

Well, Pennsylvania lawmakers are reminding people that it is illegal to touch a woman's belly without permission.

Alissa Dickson is the mother of a 2-month-old baby boy. She said strangers would touch her belly frequently during her pregnancy.


"It was like every time I went to the store. Usually, it was someone who had a kid already and they missed the experience so they liked touching my stomach," said Alissa Dickson, of Exeter Township.

Unfortunately, Dickson said, they rarely asked permission.

"They just kind of go and it is like, OK well, you do not really say anything but it makes you feel uncomfortable," said Dickson.

But what Dickson did not know is that those strangers may have been committing a crime.

According to Pennsylvania state law, touching a pregnant woman's belly against her will can be considered harassment. A case in central Pennsylvania is putting the issue in the spotlight. 

"I would be upset, I think, because it is my body and they just cannot come up and touch my stomach. It is like off limits," said Vivien Ouano, of Fleetwood.

All of the women we spoke with seemed to have the same opinion. They said they agree with the law because it is an invasion of their personal space.

"I do not know if it is harassment, but I think that it is a woman's choice," said Donna Dillon, of Muhlenberg Township.

"That is appropriate because it is your body and you just cannot have strangers coming and touching your body part," said Ouano.

So for new mothers like Dickson, she knows for next time that it is more than just a touchy issue.