"(I)n the sense, the sperm that's been introduced as a result of the rape is a kind of further intrusion, unwelcome and non-voluntarily allowed into the woman's body. So it's a further kind of intrusion of the violence."
To understand the distinction, the professor continued, one must first understand the purpose of human sexuality and why the Church opposes contraception.
"(W)hat sex means, from the Catholic perspective, is I give myself totally, completely to you in the kind of relationship that would be fulfilled by having and bearing children together," she explained. "And if you do that while at the same time intentionally holding back your fertility, in a sense you've contradicted what it is that you're doing with your body. It's kind of like nodding yes while thinking no, kind of lying with your body language."
As a result, birth control is immoral because it violates the very nature of sex – trying to engage in sex without the natural possibility of pregnancy.
"But that doesn't happen in the case of rape," Moschella stressed. "In the case of rape, there has been no voluntary sex act on the part of the woman."
As a result, birth control would be viewed not as an immoral contraceptive measure seeking to separate the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, but rather part of an act of self-defense, as the women seek to resist the act altogether.
This is also, she noted, why some actions – such as the use of spermicide or attempts to delay ovulation if it has not yet occurred – may be acceptable even after instances of rape, as long as they do not involve the risk of killing an already-formed human embryo.
However, Moschella said that this is "really different" from the situation surrounding the Zika virus.
"(I)n cases of Zika virus, you're talking about women who are voluntarily engaging in sexual relations and then using contraceptives to prevent those voluntary sexual acts from being fertile. And that does contradict the meaning of the sexual act, and so involves a kind of lack of integrity that's harmful to the person and harmful to the relationship."