Daily Links, Feb. 1: Good news on Afghanistan, bad news for Planned Parenthood, and Romney's poor choice of words

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As we kick off February, the big news story now making the rounds this afternoon is the announcement of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan will end as early as the middle of next year.

Another big story that broke late in the day yesterday is the announcement that Susan G. Komen for the Cure will no longer fund Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings. On our blog today, I take a closer look at what this might mean for the Catholic Church's longstanding boycott of the Komen charity.

Former Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua passed away in his sleep last night at age 88. This comes one day after a judge ruled that Bevilacqua's testimony, taken during a November deposition, would be allowed in the upcoming sexual abuse trial in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere in the church, it is impossible to escape talk of the contraception mandate and the bishops' protest of it. On our blog, Bryan Cones takes a closer look at exactly who is required to provide coverage of contraception in their health care plans, revealing that the mandate isn't quite as broad as the bishops are making it seem.

We also haven't heard the last of Alabama's harsh (and heavily contested) immigration law, but Faith in Public Life reports that a new study shows just how severe the law's consequences are for the state's economy.

And last but not least, Mitt Romney was the victor in last night's Florida Republican primary. The campaign left Kevin Clarke thinking about just how much money can buy in today's political arena, but others are more focused on comments Romney made about his lack of concern for the poor. Here at U.S. Catholic, Liz Lefebvre breaks down Romney's remarks and shows why they are flawed not just politically, but morally and factually as well.