No one can doubt that his opposition to contraception and his recent denunciations of prenatal testing and women in combat reflect his deep moral and religious beliefs.

But they also allow opponents to pigeonhole Santorum as a religious conservative despite his considerable record on and knowledge of economic and foreign-policy issues.

It is political malpractice to give opponents such an opening in a year when voters are overwhelmingly focused on the economy and the Obama Democrats’ vast expansion of the size and scope of government.

It’s unfortunate also since Santorum sometimes make similar points in a less inflammatory manner. On the stump, he often cites a Brookings Institution study that shows that virtually all of those who graduate from high school, get a job, and marry before having children escape from poverty.