In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that privately held companies can opt out of the contraceptive clause of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on religious grounds.

The requirement in question mandates that certain company-provided health insurance policies include contraceptive services. The ruling came in a review of a lawsuit brought by the owners of Hobby Lobby, furniture maker Conestoga Wood and Christian bookseller Mardel contending that the contraceptive mandate violated their constitutional right to religious freedom.

The law in dispute requires for-profit employers of a certain size to offer insurance benefits for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay. A number of companies equate some of the covered drugs, such as the so-called morning-after pill, with abortion, which is against their owners' religious beliefs.