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Should it be illegal to touch a pregnant woman's belly without her permission?

by Jennifer Muirhead (follow)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma ~ Eartha Kitt.
Ethics (86)      Law (27)      Pregnancy (26)     


pregnant belly, pregnancy
Photo by Jeremykemp.


A new law in Pennsylvania states that it is illegal to touch a pregnant woman's belly without her permission. Do you think that such a law is a good idea? What are your strategies for dealing with unwanted touching?

#Pregnancy
#Law
#Ethics
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There are official laws and then there unwritten rules. People should learn where that line is. This is an unwritten rule - a matter of manners, and etiquette. Making it a law is pretty ridiculous. Can you imagine the following scenario - a woman phones the police to report someone touched her stomach and should be arrested? Sounds pretty farcical.

Don't get me wrong. People should not do it; but there are a lot of things people should not do, yet are not illegal. You need to keep things in proportion.


When I was pregnant I found it a bit uncomfortable if someone touched my belly without checking first (unless they were friends or family). It happened a couple of times. People sometimes see your belly as no longer part of you and connect it more with a baby inside.
GREAT Question. I absolutely hated strangers coming up to me and touching my stomach while I was pregnant. You would not touch someone's stomach if they were not pregnant. That may even border on sexual harassment. I think people should ask and need to be open to a negative response.
Bleargh! Makes me sick to think of it. I wouldn't ever dare presume to do this and I would probably have given a right hook to anyone who touched my tummy. We now know that babies are quite aware in the womb, so I would think it would be "hands to yourself".
by Rice
This does raise some ethical questions. Where people don't want to be touched - don't touch them regardless. What if someone harms the baby - legal ramifications can occur. Such a great question. Really gets us thinking.
Touching pregnant women's bellies without their permission certainly makes some women uncomfortable and is a bit rude. I can understand people being so excited by the idea of there being a tiny person in there that they want to touch but it is nice to ask first. That being said I'm not sure it's necessary to have a specific law about it.
I don't quite know why anyone would want to do that. What are the feeling for ? I think it is just more modern day rubbish. Like air kissing and people constantly crying because they are so "blown away" by situations (that usually have nothing to do with them). Over emotional play acting.
by fran.
To feel it kicking I imagine. I don't know that it's a modern thing. It wouldn't surprise me if people have been doing it for a long time.
Touching a woman's belly is an invasion of personal space. People should respect a person's personal boundaries. Making it law I agree, is going above and beyond, but as mentioned good manners should prevail, and a pregnant woman should be asked if it is ok to do it.
Touching anyone (anywhere) without their explicit permission is definitely not acceptable, it's intruding in to your privacy and your space. Especially so in the case of a pregnant woman, as its a question of hygiene and could impact the mother and/or fetus.
But I'm not sure if there should be a separate law to go with this, not unless it became too common for people to indulge in this or people continue this act despite protests from the victim.
Law or not, punishment must be severe to prevent recurrence!
Didn't happen too often to me, but I'd already said 'stop!', before hand touched my stomach.

It's rude, invasion of privacy & space, & actually assault.
it already is its called assault. its just that no one does anything about it.
It's a bit over the top making a law to try to prevent this happening. Plain and simple good manners should be enough. Don't touch what isn't yours!
Well yeah I guess it should be illegal. I can't imagine anyone wanting to touch the belly of a pregnant woman but from personal experience with pregnant women these days, they consider themselves so clever for becoming pregnant, that any attention is good attention.
Some pregnant women certainly do object to it. I would have been offended if someone touched me without permission on the assumption that I thought "any attention was good attention". That's like when people say catcalling is a compliment. Gross. I wouldn't have been too thrilled with people making assumptions about how I felt about my pregnancy either.
I think it happened to me maybe three times, when I was pregnant the 5 times.
I HATED it!!
I like my own personal space, and I made sure after that, it didn't happen...by backing away or turning away.
I personally think that anyone that does this (action) has good intent. I am well over pregnant women, and how good or clever they feel. These days I think that anyone that is pregnant seem to feel that they are doing something, or experiencing something, that is sort of unusual or special. Any idiot can become pregnant-----it is sort of a base thing to achieve. Why anyone would want to "feel" the infant in the womb", is beyond me. Boring.
Interesting enough to answer the question twice though. :P Yes, most women can get pregnant, some of them easily, some of them even by accident. Some actually have to try for a long time before it happens for them, waiting for months or years, some with expensive or painful medical treatment to help the process along. I can see why it's not important to someone not connected with them, but to the pregnant woman herself of course it feels like a big deal. It's a life changing experience. It changes you physically in a lot of ways, some of them permanent, and the hormones and anticipation of having a brand new human being to care for can make it quite an emotional rollercoaster. Have you not had a baby yourself, Fran? Perhaps you have loads of them and that's what made you eventually so jaded about it? Or perhaps you have been around some pregnant women who got a bit carried away? You don't have to answer of course, I just wondered.

I have two kids, and for me both times pregnancy was an incredible experience (sometimes annoying, uncomfortable or painful, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary). Clever, no, but of deep personal significance. I totally get why people close to the pregnant woman (like the baby's father, or grandparents) might want to feel the baby move. That can also be very exciting for young children who are curious about how babies grow, and especially older siblings of the unborn child. My two year old was fascinated to see and hear her unborn baby brother move, and to listen to his heart beat with a stethoscope. That's not to say that you should go around touching pregnant women, certainly not without permission, I just can see why some people want to.

Have you heard the Garfunkel and Oates song "Pregnant Women are Smug"? If not, have a look on Youtube, it might amuse you.
I wouldn't touch any body's stomach without knowing them, and if it is a pregnant woman I would ask first, as sometimes a pregnantwoman's hormones are all over the place and she may get emotional over it!
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