Preface: For those of you who do not know me, I am a very dark individual. You very well may be offended by what I am about to say. Suicide is one of those issues like religion and politics. The day will never come when we all have the same opinion. As such, I don't expect you to agree with what I say on any grounds, be they moral, ethical, economical, or otherwise. Bear in mind, what you see here is only a miniscule fraction of my thoughts on the subject.
Suicide is a beautiful thing. Sure there are other options, but some people just don't want to live anymore. If you don't have control of whether or not you live, what can you decide? I have watched people die slowly in hospice care, infected with diseases there is no hope of curing. They are only able to prolong their suffering. My own grandmother asked - practically begged - me to take her IV drip out when she was in the hospital. I told her I would move it close to her bed, walk out of the room and come back in 15 minutes...
Now as for the question of legality, to call the act itself illegal would be simply asinine. How are you going to punish someone if they are dead? Fine their family? Yea, that makes perfect sense. I have a better solution.
Currently, more than half the states have clear laws against assisted suicide. The others tiptoe around the delicate issue, defining what counts as "assisted" suicide and what does not. It is my honest-to-God belief that there should be clinics that are legally allowed to aid in suicide. With some provisions, that is.
In my grandmother's case, she was not able to get out of her bed, pull the IV drip to her, and clip it shut. I did most of the work for her, but she was still too weak to reach up and clip it shut. When I walked back in, she was still alive and we cried together for hours. She died 2 days later. But only after her organs slowly shut down, causing her to go through immense pain.
Now imagine another scenario. She asks me to clip her IV. We talk about it, and she decides it is her time to go. I get the on-call doctor, he confirms with us, and lets her go peacefully with 120mg of Morphine. No pain. No suffering. Just death.
I firmly believe that if someone is incapable of ending his/her own life, a doctor should be legally allowed/required (I am still thinking about this part) to administrate an assisted suicide. There would of course be more to it than that, but the idea is the same. I see no reason why people should be left to suffer because they are physically unable to end their own life.
Now in the case of perfectly healthy - albeit depressed - people, clinics should offer a "suicide kit" containing those materials needed for an easy, painless way to die. There would be a set waiting period, during which the person is encouraged/required (Again, still thinking about this) to seek counseling, medical assistance, and talk to their friends and family. After that period, the person will be able to end his/her life without pain.
Think about all of those people who have botched suicide. Shot themselves in the face and lived. Poisoned themselves and had massive internal damage, leading to hospitalization. Hung themselves and lived on with a permanent necklace. Slitting wrists, necks, femoral arteries, only to pass out and wind up in a mental ward. All this could be avoided with a simple kit.
Of course, this will never happen. We are all so selfish that we want to hang on to our loved ones as long as possible, no matter what they want for themselves. That is human nature. It cannot be helped. I have come to accept that. However if I or a loved one should ever be in a position where we are ready to die, I would want it to be quick, quiet, and without pain. Suicide is a beautiful thing.