Olympia, WA – On Tuesday, the State Senate voted to make the procedure of scleral tattooing illegal in Washington State. According to an article by The Daily Chronicle, the bill passed the House on March 8 in a vote of 94-4.
Scleral tattooing is the process of scarring or inserting pigment into the human eye, typically within the white of the eye.
House Bill 1856 would subject violators to a civil penalty determined by the court. Scleral Tattooing is already banned in Canada and Indiana.
Dr. Aaron Lee, a retina surgeon, testified in support of the bill when it was in committee as a representative of the Washington Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons according to the Daily Chronicle.
The main concern for Dr. Lee and legislators, is someone without proper medical and surgical training performing the tattooing and damaging the retina. The procedure can cause infection and retinal detachment, which could leave the individual blind or requiring the eye to be removed completely.
Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro- Woolley, was the only member of the Senate to vote against the measure. Consenting adults should be able to do what they want, said Wagoner. He pointed to the fact that many dangerous activities are legal – like rock climbing for example – and to be “philosophically consistent” he voted against the measure.
The legislation now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it into law that will go into effect 90 days after the legislative session adjourns.