More Americans are pro-life and more believe abortion should be legal. (Not a typo)

A strange finding by pollsters Gallup.

A rather odd trio of findings by the American pollsters Gallup. The proportion of Americans describing themselves as "pro-choice" has fallen to a record low of 41 per cent:

Yet the proportion who think abortion should be illegal under all circumstances has fallen, while the proportion who think it should be legal under some or all circumstances has stayed flat (though it should be pointed out that the opposite framing is also true; "legal under certain circumstances" is obviously synonymous with "illegal under certain circumstances"):

And the proportion who think abortion is morally wrong hasn't changed:

It's hard to know what to make of the findings. It seems like the most likely reading is that there is a growing proportion of Americans who describe themselves as "pro-life", but are ambivalent about the morality of abortion and think that it should be legal in some circumstances. More conflicting views have been held in the past...

American pro-choice campaigners. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.