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Morning-After Pill: For Emergencies Only

South Korean conservative activists burn North Korean flags and portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during a rally denouncing North Korea's military in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 11, 2009.
AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
The morning-after pill can prevent conception if taken up to 72 hours after having sex. Right now, you can only get it with a prescription, but the Food and Drug Administration is considering changing that. If they do, it'll have a big impact on teenagers, who are already discovering the pill's perks and its price.

CBS News Correspondent Tracy Smith met with some teens and found each has a story about a friend who had unprotected sex.

Acacia Stevens, 17, starts telling the story. She says, "It's a pretty basic story. Like, they were at a party…"

Martyna Majok, also 17, continues, "She didn't think to use a condom. I don't know why? Heat of the moment and whatnot…"

A year younger, Mark Bartkiewicz follows, "She was worried she was going to get pregnant…"

Daryl Hawkins, also 16, concludes, "He was frantic, and she was frantic, and I had to calm them down."

It is a story that ends not with a pregnancy, but with a pill.

When Smith asks how many of them know someone who has taken the morning-after pill, four out of six raise their hands.

Also known as Emergency Contraception, or E.C., the morning-after pill, is actually two or four high-dose birth control pills, which, if taken within a few days of having sex, can prevent conception.

To teens, it may sound like the perfect prescription for a fairly common mistake.

Emily Chaloner, 17, explains what teens go through, "There are a lot of instances where oops! We had sex. And oh well! And it's not really planned."

These high schoolers write an educational newsletter for their peers called "Sex, etc" sponsored by Rutgers University. They say that most kids see the pill as a very last resort.

Martyna explains why, "With emergency contraceptives, 'Oh, I got to call the doctor, then call Planned Parenthood, then go to Planned Parenthood, get the prescription, go to the pharmacy, get the prescription..."

Emily notes, "There's always the fear that your parents are going to find out."

Acacia adds, "Its not necessarily like a pleasant thing to keep taking it because sometimes there are side effects with like nausea or whatever."

And Andrea Lee, 16, says, "It's not inexpensive. It's not especially for teenagers. If you are not planning to tell your parents and ask them for the 30 bucks to buy the E.C. then you are shelling out the $20-30 and you don't want to do that."

But Daryl, who goes to an all-boys school, says even the idea of a morning-after pill is already having a dangerous effect.

He says, "I know guys that they just convince girls to go have sex with them. And they'll worry about the problems after sex."

In a way, Daryl says the pill is giving them an excuse. He says, "Because they just think of anything to have this girl have sex with them."

Still most of this group thinks teens can be trusted to use the pill responsibly.

Mark says, "The mentality that you are not going to use protection and then just use the E.C. is completely ignorant.

"They might do it once. But it's a learning process. After they do it, after they realize that wow this is way expensive and this is setting me way back, they will learn from their mistake and not do it again,"

So for parents out there who say, "Oh, great! Now there's this Emergency Contraceptive, now kids are going to be having more sex because they know this is out there." The teens say in unison, "Absolutely not!"

Acacia says, "I don't think that E.C. causes people to be reckless any more than like airbags cause people to get into accidents. It's just something nice to have just in case something goes wrong, you know."

The teens told Smith that most of their friends who took the morning-after pill only did so once and have been responsible about using birth control ever since.