In Newsweek’s “What Family Therapists Think About Roe v. Wade Being Overturned,” Matt addresses the devastating Dobbs decision from his perspective as a family therapist. While the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as the trigger laws preventing access to abortion in several states, has multifaceted consequences, it powerfully impacts families’ lives, both the experiences of each member in a family and the family’s overall organization. Matt explains, “It’s really rattled those of us working in family planning…People who pay attention are seeing some really concerning things coming.”
A lack of access to abortion notably creates an imposition on women in both healthy and unhealthy relationships. Matt reveals how fewer options around conception can “add layers of complication” in coercive or abusive relationships. ”We’re concerned about these people’s ability to assert themselves in these relationships,” he says. Even in loving and caring families, though, an additional child can threaten a family’s stability, particularly financially. “For example,” Matt notes, “if a couple in a heterosexual relationship has two children and then she becomes pregnant again, that third child affects the family’s economic stability, as well as her relationship with her other children.”
The Dobbs decision also impacts the lives of children, especially the utmost importance in family planning that children be very wanted. “We want kids to come into this world with parents who really adore them…We see the impact of children who are not fully welcomed or celebrated, which is why we’re advocates for choice,” Matt says.
More recently, in “My Half-Siblings From My Dad’s Affair Want to Meet—What Should I Do?” Matt answers a question from an adult daughter whose father’s children from an affair want to connect, even though she is still hurt by his infidelity. “Decisions parents make have consequences for their children despite the fact that children usually have no say in those decisions,” Matt asserts.
Though the reader makes clear she feels harmed by her late father’s affair, Matt notes, “What’s more complicated is the question of whether or not children from that relationship are responsible as well, or, are they just as much of a bystander as you and your siblings?” He further asks, “Do you want to continue the cycle of bad decisions or see if there can be some kind of healing?”
For The Cut’s “Should I Let My Estranged Dad Pay My Student Loans?”, Matt similarly helps answer a reader’s question who is concerned about her estranged dad reaching out to help pay her student loans. Matt encourages the reader to first ask her father directly what his intentions are. Matt responds, “How do you feel about having a conversation with him about his intentions?… Would you be comfortable calling him up and saying something like, ‘Thanks for reaching out with this offer. What’s your plan? Do you see this as a way for us to get closer?’”
Ultimately, Matt urges the reader—and others who have been hurt—to remember that she has the power to decide whether to have a relationship. “You get to decide what you want to do,” Matt stresses, “and a perfectly acceptable choice at any point is to say, ‘I’m not interested in a relationship with you under any conditions.’”