Drugs used to perform home abortions are being bought by women living in countries where terminations are restricted – including Northern Ireland.
A medical study found more than one in 10 customers on one of the most well-known websites needed a surgical procedure after taking the medication due to complications.
Women in more than 70 countries, including Northern Ireland, have used the internet site Women on Web to purchase the drugs for £55 a time.
Women on Web is available in five languages and offers the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. It says a combination of the pills causes the nonsurgical termination of a pregnancy and can be used up to the ninth week.
The website says it helps women "gain access to a safe abortion with pills in order to reduce the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions."
But the BBC reports that a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found 11% of 400 customers went on to need a surgical procedure – either because the drugs had not completed the abortion or because of excessive bleeding.
The Family Planning Association in Northern Ireland told the BBC the website was "helpful and reputable", but they had experience of women who had bought drugs without appropriate medical information and needed medical care after experiencing complications.
"With the above report of 11% of women needing surgical procedures after self-medicating via this website, do you really need to ask this question? This is without considering the legal & ethical issues!" - Carol, Derbyshire