El Paso County officials like to tell Texas Governor Greg Abbott no. El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego was forever putting mask mandates and shutdowns into place during the darkest days of the COVID 19 pandemic even though Abbott kept striking them down after telling Samaniego that he couldn't put mandates and shutdowns into place. They spent a lot of time in court fighting over who was going to make the rules in El Paso. Now El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal is telling Abbott no and refusing to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abuse.

Rainbow flag proudly waving against the blue sunny skies

Earlier this week Abbott announced that he order the prosecution anyone including parents, doctors, nurses and teachers who help minors get medical treatments like puberty blockers or hormones as part of gender transition. Bernal told El Paso Matters that her office will not follow Abbott’s order. Bernal said "there's no way you can stretch the laws as written to interpret these gender-affirming types of care as abuse or neglect.”


Texas Republicans tried to get gender-affirming medical care of transgender children defined as child abuse during the 2021 legislative session but it failed. Bernal isn't the only county attorney saying no to Abbott. Harris County Attorney and Travis District Attorney also say they will not follow Abbott's directive.

Many medical organizations say that gender-affirming care for transgender minors is is medically necessary because the suicide risk is heightened for transgender minors. There is no word on whether Abbott plans to take Bernal or the Harris County and Travis District Attorneys to court to force them to follow his directive.

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