NEW YORK A case in Cumberland County, Pa., in which a man has been arrested for repeatedly hugging and stroking his pregnant neighbor's belly is bringing new attention to a law that bans the touching of pregnant women's bellies without permission in the Keystone state.
As WCBS New York reports, it happens to pregnant women all the time- well-meaning people reach out to rub their bellies. But in Pa., women can actually press charges as it falls under the state's harassment law.
And while there are no specific laws to stop a stranger from touching a woman's belly in New York, the majority of women do not appreciate strangers' hands on their bellies.
But some expectant mothers said the law seemed a bit extreme, and they did not believe New York needed to pass a similar law.
"They are looking, and always they're trying to touch and trying to feel the baby," said Yagmur, who is 9 months pregnant.
"A total stranger, I prefer to not," said Michelle Siqueira, 6 months pregnant.
She said a stranger touching her belly makes her uncomfortable.
"It would weird me out," added Kelly Kloepfer, 6 months pregnant. "I wouldn't like it at all."
For some, it comes with the territory of pregnancy.
"I'm from Brazil, so this is a common thing that people in Brazil that people that you don't know can touch your belly," Siqueira said.
"In Turkey, they say that if you're touching a pregnant woman, they say that you will get the energy and you will get pregnant too," added Yagmur.
While many women said they are used to people feeling their pregnant bellies, some said it can be invasive.
"I mean, it's a little strange, but I know people are trying to be nice, so it's OK," said Rachel Berenbaum, 5 months pregnant.
The women said at the very least, just ask for permission before you reach out.