A law in the US state of Pennsylvania that makes it illegal for a stranger to touch the belly of a pregnant woman unless they are given permission has been dusted off after one man's recent unwanted touching of his pregnant neighbour.
Richard J Beishline, 57, was charged with harassment after visiting his pregnant neighbour around 5pm on October 20, hugging her and rubbing her tummy before she pushed him away.
When he returned to his home she called the police who arrested Beishline, charging him with harassment in what police and some legal experts believe could be a first.
A person can be charged with harassment in Pennsylvania if they take an action with the intention of harassing, annoying or alarming another person.
But it is rare that this law has been applied to the specific instance of touching a pregnant woman, perhaps even unique.
It has been widely reported that the state introduced a new law making it illegal for someone to touch a pregnant woman's belly, but according to Pittsburgh attorney Phil DiLucente the law has been around for a long time.
"Essentially, someone had touched a pregnant woman’s belly. That’s very common that pregnant women have to go through that," DiLucente told local news station WPXI.
"The only problem is when you harass, annoy, alarm in the act of touching, then it’s a violation, a harassment charge."
For expectant mothers the law makes sense with many admitting the unwanted approaches and rubs from strangers, even friends and family, can be one of their least favourite things about pregnancy.
But for the law to actually be enforced the woman needs to feel as though she is being harassed.
According to Dr Jennifer Ashton, author of The Body Scoop for Girls, it is all too common for people to see the pregnant belly as something communal, owned by everyone.
"I think there's a conception – or misconception – that a pregnant woman and her pregnant belly are global property," she told NBC's Today program.
While the African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child, it is a mother's job to carry it to birth so it is probably best to ask before you touch.