I'm sure I've written about suicide before, although I couldn't find the post to link to. At any rate, I doubt my position on the subject has changed much. I am essentially in favor of legalized suicide. As with many issues, I find myself relatively alone on this one. As many conservative/religious people have noted, liberals often take a view of death that seems, at the onset, to be completely absurd. Taking my own position as an example, I am against killing animals, but for abortion rights; I am against the death penalty but for suicide.
Many progressives are in favor of assisted suicide for terminally ill patients as an alternative to hospice care, or for patients whose brains are effectively dead but the bodies are kept alive. I am in favor of these things as well - they seem to be obvious. When someone's medical future is so bleak that they have nothing to look forward to but more suffering, how on earth is it immoral to end that? In fact, how is it moral to preserve this suffering for them? When our dogs and cats are near the end of their lives and are in pain, no one would think twice about euthanizing them. And why? Because we don't want to see them suffer. I don't recognize a significant difference between animals and humans (more on that in a moment), but plenty of people do, and those people place a higher importance on humans. Why would they want their beloved grandparents to suffer to death while they release their dog from the pain?
It's because, in that difference between humans and animals, human life is somehow sacred. Human life is special in a way that precludes the application the logical rules of morality and basic kindness. There are numerous reasons that people give in their opposition to assisted suicide, most of which refer to this very notion of the sacredness of human life. But another commonly given reason is rooted in fear of abuse. And while I do oppose the idea of compulsory suicide (think Logan's Run), which is essentially murder anyway, I am fine with the idea that someone who is otherwise healthy might want to end their life for completely personal reasons.
Suicide is a sad thing. It comes from a place of desperation and misery and fear. To me, the real tragedy in the story of a suicide is the journey to that point. Once there, the rest of society should do what we can to ease the pain. If we are unable to do that, we should allow the sufferer to end his/her own life. And, like abortion, it should be legal and safe and, for the sake of the rest of us, easy to clean up. Why force the pain into the corners? And how is one sad human's life the property of the collective of society? How is suicide illegal? Why is it our responsibility to keep every last person as alive as possible?
To be clear, I am not advocating suicide booths on every street corner. I am not suicidal now, but I have entertained such thoughts for extended periods of time (not recently). I'm sure many of us have. I am very glad that I didn't follow up on it, although I do wish that I had had access to psychiatric help to help me sort my head out. At the same time, even though I am happy now and glad that I never took steps to end my own life, I maintain that it was my mistake to make. If, after therapy and medication, I was still of a mind to die, I should have that option.
This all comes back to quality of life vs. quantity of life. Life is a precious gift (metaphorically speaking), but if it is full of pain and suffering, it is not worth living, and we should be under no obligation to see it through to the bitter and painful end.