Should the Birth-Control Pill be sold without a prescription?

An over-the-counter version has long been called for, but it could soon be available if a group of practitioners and advocates have their way. When Kelly Blanchard advocated to make oral contraceptives over the counter in New York Times op-ed two weeks ago, she represented a decades-long movement among clinicians, researchers, and women’s-health advocates to remove prescriptions as a barrier to pill access. As early as 1993, Charlotte Ellertson—founder of Ibis Reproductive Health, of which Blanchard is now president—made a similar argument against the prescription status of oral contraceptives in the American Journal of Public Health.

Now a group of health workers and advocates are taking advantage of a mounting body of research that shows the pill could be safe for nonprescription use. They hope to have a proposal before the FDA within the year and an over-the-counter pill available in five years. And though their work focuses on female reproductive care, it offers a glimpse into what the future of American health care and medication could be. Members of the Oral Contraceptive Over-the-Counter Working Group, a women’s-health clinical and research institution funded by the Hewlitt Foundation and administered by Ibis Reproductive Health, believe that prescription-only access to birth control is patronizing to women, limits contraceptive freedom, and is ineffective against intractably high teen-pregnancy rates. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to access problems because it is harder for them to get to a doctor without a parent’s help. Almost 20 percent of sexually active teens who do not want to become pregnant are not using contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And teenage girls who do not use contraception during their first sexual experience are twice as likely to become teen mothers as their counterparts who use protection. “I think we see a range of problems with access today; clearly there are economic barriers to access,” says Amy Allina, program and policy director of the National Women’s Health Network and a member of the working group. “But there are also barriers that have more to do with the logistics of insurance, or the policy at the doctor’s office.”

Blockbuster continues downward

Blockbuster continues its downward spiral as it has been suspended from trading and forced to delist from the NYSE effective next Wednesday. Currently trading at $0.18 per share, Blockbuster failed to win majority stockholder approval last week for a reverse stock split that would have brought its stock above the $1 threshold and back in compliance with the NYSE.

In a move that delays any immediate bankruptcy proceedings, Blockbuster was given a one-month reprieve on debt payments that the movie rental giant failed to pay on July 1st. The creditors, which hold nearly $440 million of Blockbuster’s whopping $920 million of debt, agreed to postpone any “remedies” until August 13th. In the upcoming weeks, Blockbuster is hoping to negotiate with partners to get a quick infusion of cash by possibly converting some bondholders to equity investors. This quick fix may be a little too little, a little too late and may only delay the inevitable bankruptcy as Blockbuster shows no signs of becoming profitable in the foreseeable future.

Muse’s lead singer dating Goldie Hawn’s daughter

Muse has been my favorite band for over five years now, so this is exciting for me!

Kate Hudson’s new boyfriend, Muse rocker Matt Bellamy, is getting ready to meet the parents. The couple is doing well and it’s time for the classically huge step. And when Goldie Hawn is your mother, it’s a little bit more intimidating. “We are meeting up next week. I’m quite nervous,” Bellamy said. “It’s a little bit too soon to talk about weddings at stuff. Ask me again in a few months though… I’ll let you know how it went with Goldie – and then who knows?”

Hudson and her new beau are doing “great”. Bellamy and Hudson came out as a couple last month and have been busy hanging out at Britain’s Glastonbury music festival. “Things are going great. I am very happy. We had such a good time at Glastonbury,” the Muse front man said. “We just have fun together and are seeing how it goes.”

The couple is trying to keep things private by not telling the press about how they met or any of the juicy details. However, some important clues are emerging. In a feature in the UK’s The Times, it was revealed that the couple first met in Australia when they were “both in relationships” many years ago. Hudson was with her former husband Chris Robinson while Bellamy was with his ex-girlfriend with whom he split from last September. But when they met again, they were both single.